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Full text of "Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library"

PUBLIC LIPRAPY ^' *- 



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GENEALOGY COLLECTION 



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1833 02490 3079 



COLLECTIONS 

OF THE 

ILLINOIS STATE HISTORICAL 
LIBRARY 



EDITED BY 

CLARENCE WALWORTH ALVORD 

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 



VOLUME XIV 



ILLINOIS 
STATE HISTORICAL LIBRARY 



BOARD OF TRUSTEES 

EvARTS BouTELL Greene, President 

Charles Henry Rammelkamp, Vice-President 

Otto Leopold Schmidt, Secretary 



Jessie Palmer Weber, Librarian 



ADVISORY COMMISSION 

EVARTS BOUTELL GrEENE 

William Edward Dodd 

James Alton James 

Andrew Cunningham McLaughlin 

William Augustus Meese 

Edward Carleton Page 

Charles Henry Rammelkamp 

Clarence Walworth Alvord, ex officio 



CONSTITUTIONAL SERIES 

VOLUME II 



THE CONSTITUTIONAL DEBATES 

OF 

1847 



COLLECTIONS OF THE ILLINOIS STATE HISTORICAL LIBRARY 
VOLUME XIV 



CONSTITUTIONAL SERIES, VOLUME II 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL 
DEBATES OF 1847 



Edited with Introduction and Notes by 

ARTHUR CHARLES COLE 

University of Illinois 



Published by the Trustees of the 

ILLINOIS STATE HISTORICAL LIBRARY 

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS 
19I9 



Copyright, 1919 

BY 

The Illinois State Historical Library 



PREFACE 

The addition of seventy-two years to Illinois history, 
and a fifth attempt to remodel her fundamental law, 
have made apparent the value of publishing the debates 
of the Constitutional Convention of 1847. Working in 
an atmosphere of "economy, retrenchment, and re- 
form," the delegated representatives of the authority 
of this Commonwealth in 1847 decided to forego an 
official edition of debates and content themselves with 
newspaper versions. Many were aware of the service 
which a collection of debates would have rendered to 
other bodies similarly engaged in that time of constitu- 

' tional reform; they were not so alive to their obliga- 
tions to posterity and to their successors in constitu- 
tional amendment in Illinois. 

i The present volume is the result of an effort to re- 

construct the records of this convention. The most 

I complete single account available was found in the 
tri- weekly edition of the Illinois State Register; strangely 
enough, however, the weekly edition often contained 

'^ more detailed accounts of certain addresses and debates. 

..■ The reporters were not always prompt in their arrival 
nor were they always able to hear what was said. The 

,v^ Register, too, was not always ready to devote space to 
the utterances of party opponents. It left this obliga- 
tion to its rival, the Sangamo Journal. No other papers 
in Illinois attempted to present a running record of the 
debates. Newspaper correspondents were at the con- 
vention in force but at best they were satisfied with 



iv ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

making daily memoranda of the topics discussed, of the 
trend of the debates, and of the current political gossip. 
The version presented in this volume is the Register 
tri-weekly account supplemented in important omis- 
sions by items from the weekly edition and from the 
Sangamo Journal. 

The preparation of this volume has been made 
possible by the codperation of Mrs. Jessie Palmer Weber 
of the Illinois State Historical Library and of Dr. W. F. 
Dodd of the Illinois Legislative Reference Bureau. The 
newspaper files used in the text were those of the Illinois 
State Historical Library. They have been supple- 
mented for editorial work by the files of the Chicago 
Historical Society, of the Newberry Library, Chicago, 
of the Library of Congress, and of the Illinois Historical 
Survey. The index has been prepared for the practical 
use of students of political science by Miss Ethel Gwinn, 
working under the direction of Professor John A. 
Fairlie. I am especially indebted to Miss Nellie C. 
Armstrong, who, in the capacity of editorial assistant, 
has shown the greatest zeal and care in collating and 
proof-reading. 



Arthur C. Cole 



Urbana, Illinois 

January, 1920 



CONTENTS 

Introduction xv 

I. Monday, June 7, 1847 i 

The convention assembled; credentials of members presented; 
president, secretary, sergeant-at-arms elected; printing of the debates 
discussed; "economy, retrenchment and reform". 

II. Tuesday, June 8 9 

Employment of additional officers discussed; authority of conven- 
tion to limit pay of members and officers; report of Committee on 
Rules adopted. 

III. Wednesday, June 9 22 

Legislative powers of the convention discussed; employment of 
additional officers considered; pay of members of convention; ad- 
ditional officers elected. 

IV. Thursday, June 10 42 

Length of daily sessions decided upon; presentation of various 

resolutions pertaining to organization. 

V. Friday, June ii 45 

Reconsideration of the rules of the convention; debate on 
advisability of taking up resolutions on three great departments of 
government; resolutions discussed in Committee of the Whole. 

VI. Monday, June 14 65 

Standing committees announced; discussion as to form of procedure 
in "the amendment, revision or alteration" of the constitution; pres- 
entation of resolutions on subjects of banking, executive authority, 
state borrowing power; discussion as to advisability of printing debates. 

VII. Tuesday, June 15 82 

Presentation of resolutions on subjects of judiciary, state borrowing 

power, veto power, manner of elections, term and salary of governor 
and members of General Assembly; discussion on bank question. 



vi CONTENTS 

VIII. Wednesday, June i6 90 

Debate on subject of poll tax as remedy for state debt. 

IX. Thursday, June 17 ' . . 100 

Bank question debated; presentation of "equal rights" petition; 
abolition of county commissioners' court discussed; presentation of 
resolutions on subjects of lotteries, divorces, abolishing office of probate 
justice and county recorder, banking. 

X. Friday, June 18 no 

Resolution prohibiting formation of new counties less than four 
hundred square miles in area; debate on resolution; debate on question 
of limiting numbers of the General Assembly. 

XI. Saturday, June 19 127 

Debate on numbers of General Assembly; on county representative 

system; "economy, retrenchment and reform." 

XII. Monday, June 21 153 

Debate on county representative system; on representation based on 
population; presentation of "equal rights" petition. 

XIII. Tuesday, June 22 159 

Appointment of committee to apportion state into senatorial and 
representative districts; presentation of resolutions on courts of chan- 
cery and common law; discussion on election of secretary; debate on 
subject of banks; presentation of resolution concerning suffrage. 



XIV. Wednesday, June 23 171 

Presentation of resolutions concerning education; debate on invest- 
ment of school funds in state bonds; discussion on subject of revenue. 

XV. Thursday, June 24 190 

Presentation of resolutions from Committee on Organization of 
Departments and Officers connected with the Executive Department; 
on taxation of government lands; on prohibition of dueling; rate of 
maximum taxation; limitation of power of legislature; agricultural 
resources of state; pay of members of convention; amendments to new 
constitution; prohibition of immigration of free negroes. 

XVI. Friday, June 25 210 

Immigration of free negroes; suffrage rights of citizens of other states; 
debate on subject of negro rights. 



CONTENTS vii 

XVII. Saturday, June 26 229 

Petition prohibiting immigration of negroes to and emancipation of 

negroes in state; debate on subject of negro rights; personal difficulties 
in Committee on Education. 

XVIII. Monday, June 28 251 

Resolutions concerning banking; debate on bank question. 

XIX. Tuesday, June 29 267 

Debate on the subject of banks; question of absolute or temporary 
prohibition; liability of directors and stockholders. 

XX. Wednesday, June 30 284 

Consideration of report of Committee on the Legislative Depart- 
ment; debate on length and frequency of legislative sessions. 

XXI. Thursday, July i 289 

Presentation of resolutions; debate on length and frequency of 

legislative sessions, continued; on qualifications of representatives and 
senators; on numbers of representatives and senators. 

XXII. Friday, July 2 299 

Discussion concerning pay of convention members; revision of com- 
mittee report, continued; time of meeting of legislature; officers of two 
houses and quorum; passage of bills. 

XXIII. Monday, July 5 305 

Report of Committee on the Legislative Department discussed; pay 

of members of legislature; eligibility to office; suits against the state; 
sale of lands; special legislation. 

XXIV. Tuesday, July 6 312 

Reports from Committee on Incorporations presented; from Com- 
mittee on the Division of the State into Counties; report of Committee 
on the Legislative Department discussed; debate on section 31 of the 
report. 

XXV. Wednesday, July 7 324 

Report of Committee on the Legislative Department discussed; 
discussion on special legislation; on banks; question of representative 
apportionment. 



viii CONTENTS 

XXVI. Thursday, July 8 338 

Newspaper misrepresentation of convention delegates; limitation of 
length and frequency of speeches of delegates; resolutions of sympathy 
to the families of Hardin, Zabriskie, and Houghton; eulogy; considera- 
tion of report of Committee on the Legislative Department; question 
of representation; state debt. 

XXVII. Friday, July 9 356 

Report of Committee on the Legislative Department; supplies, 

printing, etc., for the legislature; life, liberty, and property guaranteed; 
report of Committee on the Executive Department; governor's term of 
ofBce, date of election, eligibility to office, age requirement; debate on 
Native Americanism. 

XXVIII. Saturday, July 10 375 

Report of Committee on the Executive Department; debate con- 
cerning governor's salary. 

XXIX. Monday, July 12 383 

Report of Committee on the Executive Department; governor's 

salary; resolution concerning Mr. Hale's denunciation of the Mexican 
War. 

XXX. Thursday, July 15 391 

Report of Committee on the Executive Department; pardoning 

power; special sessions of legislature. 



XXXI. Friday, July 16 395 

Adoption of additional rules of procedure; report of Committee on 
the Executive Department; special sessions of legislature; duties of 
lieutenant-governor; signing of bills; veto power. 

XXXII. Saturday, July 17 424 

Veto power; appointment or election of secretary of state; compen- 
sation of secretary of state. 

XXXIII. Monday, July 19 446 

Resolutions on the deaths of Lieutenants Fletcher, Robbins, and 
Ferguson; report of Committee on the Judiciary; classes of courts, 
regulation by constitution or legislature; jurisdiction of various courts; 
personnel of supreme court. 



CONTENTS ix 

XXXIV. Tuesday, July 20 457 

Resolutions concerning state debt; discontinuance of practice of 

opening sessions with prayer; report of Committee on the Judiciary; 
election or appointment of judges. 

XXXV. Wednesday, July 21 469 

Report of Committee on the Judiciary; election of judges; district 
system or general; term of judges. 

XXXVI. Thursday, July 22 485 

Discussion concerning treatment of clergymen in the convention; 
report of Committee on the Judiciary; number of districts; appoint- 
ment or election of judges. 

XXXVII. Friday, July 23 498 

Reportof Committee on the Judiciary; number of districts; supreme 
court sessions; reference of report to a special committee; report of 
Committee on the Organization of Departments; auditor of public 
accounts; state treasurer; report of Committee on Elections and Right 
of Suffrage; qualifications for right of suffrage. 

XXXVIII. Monday, July 26 519 

Resolution concerning restoration of practice of opening convention 

sessions with prayer; discussion as to propriety of printing various 
propositions; discussion on the subject of a new carpet. 

XXXIX. Tuesday, July 27 524 

Right of suffrage; effect on immigration; right of state to control 
suffrage; Native Americanism. 

XL. Wednesday, July 28 551 

Right of suffrage; lengthy debate on extension of suffrage to foreign- 



XLI. Thursday, July 29 581 

Right of suffrage; debate continued; date of elections fixed; report 
of Committee on the Mihtia. 

XLII. Friday, July 30 615 

Report of Committee on Revenue; debate on subject of poll tax; on 
its application to foreigners. 



X CONTENTS 

XLIII. Saturday, July 31 628 

Discussion concerning date of adjournment of convention; report of 
Committee on the Revenue; taxation of "corporations and govern- 
ments;" minimum land valuation; exemption from taxation. 

XLIV. Monday, August 2 636 

Report of Committee on the Revenue; exemptions from taxation; 
sale of lands for taxation. 

XLV. Tuesday, August 3 640 

Report of Committee on Incorporations; debate on subject of bank- 
ing; liability of corporation members for corporation debts. 

XLVI. Wednesday, August 4 658 

Continuation of debate on the bank question; absolute prohibition 
or regulated system of banking; submission of question separately to 
people. 

XLVII. Thursday, August 5 674 

Continuation of debate on the bank question; responsibility of cor- 
poration members for corporation debts and liabilities. 

XLVIII. Friday, August 6 695 

Report of Committee on the Legislative Department, as amended in 
committee of the whole. 

XLIX. Saturday, August 7 701 

Resolutions of sympathy upon the death of Captain Franklin Niles; 
report of Committee on the Legislative Department; eligibility of 
state officers to other offices; impeachment; special legislation; ques- 
tion of bank. 

L. Monday, August 9 707 

Bank question; limitation upon legislative power; separate sub- 
mission of bank question to people; impeachment; eligibility to seats 
in the General Assembly; oath of office; granting of divorces; suits 
against the state; lotteries; sale of lands belonging to individuals. 

LI. Tuesday, August id 722 

Exemption of freehold from execution; division of state into repre- 
sentative and senatorial districts; personal liberty rights; census; 
apportionment of senators and representatives; state appropriations; 
monopolies. 



CONTENTS xi 

LII. Wednesday, August II 730 

Apportionment of representatives; provisions concerning state 
printing, binding, fuel, etc.; sale of land for taxes; amendment of bank 
charter; review of report of Committee on the Executive Department. 

LIII. Thursday, August 12 741 

Consideration of report of Committee on the Executive Department; 
report of Committee on the Judiciary; mode of selecting supreme court 
judges; classes of courts; personnel of supreme court. 

LIV. Friday, August 13 761 

Mode of selecting judges; rotation of terms of office; jurisdiction; 
place of sessions of supreme court; county courts; county justices. 

LV. Saturday, August 14 770 

County courts and justices; mode of selecting justices; court of 
probate; quarterly terms of probate court; jurisdiction; duties of 
county judge; appointment of committee to provide for submission of 
constitution to people. 

LVI. Monday, August 16 775 

County courts; clerk of county courts; authority of legislature to 
reorganize county court system; compensation of judges; justices of the 
peace. 

LVII. Tuesday, August 17 787 

Jurisdiction of justice of peace; attorney-general; prosecuting attor- 
ney; county prosecuting attorney; fees of attorneys; clerk of circuit 
court; clerk of supreme court; commissioning of judicial officers by 
governor; form of judicial documents. 

LVIII. Wednesday, August 18 800 

Division of state into judicial circuits; cost of system; terms of 
court in each circuit; salary of judges; eligibility to other offices; 
requirements for office; length of term; prohibition of banks; report of 
Committee on Commons; poll tax. 

LIX. Thursday, August 19 812 

Division of state into representative and senatorial districts; revenue; 
poll tax; sale of lands for taxes; valuation of property. 



xii CONTENTS 

LX. Friday, August 20 821 

Formation of new counties; report of Committee on Law Reform; 
report of Committee on Townships. 

LXI. Saturday, August 21 839 

Printing of constitution in German and Norwegian; time of adjourn- 
ment of convention; pay of members; Bill of Rights; right of abolish- 
ing the constitution. 

LXII. Monday, August 23 854 

Bill of Rights; religious freedom; freedom of election; civil and 
political rights of negroes; trial by jury; search and seizure; necessity 
for indictment by grand jury; bail; penalties; imprisonment for debt; 
ex post facto laws. 

LXIII. Tuesday, August 24 869 

Prohibition of dueling; rights of negroes; right of peaceable assem- 
bly; mode of levying tax; right to reform government; freedom of 
press; division of senatorial and representative districts. 

LXIV. Wednesday, August 25 879 

Senatorial and representative districts; report of Committee on 
Finance; three mill tax; three grand judicial circuits; appeal from 
circuit courts; report of Committee on Law Reform; codification of 
laws. 

LXV. Thursday, August 26 897 

Adoption of new convention rules; report of Committee on Educa- 
tion; duties of superintendent of schools; educational needs of state. 

LXVI. Friday, August 27 922 

Education; mode of selecting superintendent of schools; govern- 
ment money for schools; report of Committee on Revision; amend- 
ment of constitution; question of finance. 

LXVII. Saturday, August 28 931 

Collection of taxes; state debt; printing of constitution; distribution 
of constitution among foreign population. 

LXVIII. Monday, August 30 941 

Time of elections; copies of the Journal of the Convention to each 
delegate. 



CONTENTS xi 

LII. Wednesday, August II 730 

Apportionment of representatives; provisions concerning state 
printing, binding, fuel, et(i; sale of land for taxes; amendment of bank 
charter; review of report of Committee on the Executive Department. 

LIII. Thursday, August 12 741 

Consideration of report of Committee on the Executive Department; 
report of Committee on the Judiciary; mode of selecting supreme court 
judges; classes of courts; personnel of supreme court. 

LIV. Friday, August 13 761 

Mode of selecting judges; rotation of terms of office; jurisdiction; 
place of sessions of supreme court; county courts; county justices. 

LV. Saturday, August 14 770 

County courts and justices; mode of selecting justices; court of 
probate; quarterly terms of probate court; jurisdiction; duties of 
county judge; appointment of committee to provide for submission of 
constitution to people. 

LVI. Monday, August 16 775 

County courts; clerk of county courts; authority of legislature to 
reorganize county court system; compensation of judges; justices of the 
peace. 

LVII. Tuesday, August 17 787 

Jurisdiction of justice of peace; attorney-general; prosecuting attor- 
ney; county prosecuting attorney; fees of attorneys; clerk of circuit 
court; clerk of supreme court; commissioning of judicial officers by 
governor; form of judicial documents. 

LVIII. Wednesday, August 18 800 

Division of state into judicial circuits; cost of system; terms of 
court in each circuit; salary of judges; eligibility to other offices; 
requirements for office; length of term; prohibition of banks; report of 
Committee on Commons; poll tax. 

LIX. Thursday, August 19 812 

Division of state into representative and senatorial districts; revenue; 
poll tax; sale of lands for taxes; valuation of property. 



xii CONTENTS 

LX. Friday, August 20 821 

Formation of new counties; report of Committee on Law Reform; 
report of Committee on Townships. 

LXI. Saturday, August 21 839 

Printing of constitution in German and Norwegian; time of adjourn- 
ment of convention; pay of members; Bill of Rights; right of abolish- 
ing the I 



LXII. Monday, August 23 854 

Bill of Rights; religious freedom; freedom of election; civil and 
political rights of negroes; trial by jury; search and seizure; necessity 
for indictment by grand jury; bail; penalties; imprisonment for debt; 
ex post facto laws. 

LXIII. Tuesday, August 24 869 

Prohibition of dueling; rights of negroes; right of peaceable assem- 
bly; mode of levying tax; right to reform government; freedom of 
press; division of senatorial and representative districts. 

LXIV. Wednesday, August 25 879 

Senatorial and representative districts; report of Committee on 
Finance; three mill tax; three grand judicial circuits; appeal from 
circuit courts; report of Committee on Law Reform; codification of 
laws. 

LXV. Thursday, August 26 897 

Adoption of new convention rules; report of Committee on Educa- 
tion; duties of superintendent of schools; educational needs of state. 

LXVI. Friday, August 27 922 

Education; mode of selecting superintendent of schools; govern- 
ment money for schools; report of Committee on Revision; amend- 
ment of constitution; question of finance. 

LXVII. Saturday, August 28 931 

Collection of taxes; state debt; printing of constitution; distribution 
of constitution among foreign population. 

LXVIII. Monday, August 30 94 1 

Time of elections; copies of the Journal of the Convention to each 
delegate. 



CONTENTS xiii 

LXIX. Tuesday, August 31 944 

Adoption of constitution; provisions for signing by absent members; 
adjournment of convention. 

Biographical Appendix 949 

List of members; biographical sketches. 

Bibliography 987 

Index 999 

Name index; articles and sections; subject index. 



INTRODUCTION 

A little over two decades of development under its 
original charter of statehood brought Illinois to the 
point where it chafed at the restraints of its constitu- 
tional swaddling clothes. The movement for a new 
constitution, therefore, received definite recognition in 
the legislative session of 1840-1841 when a joint resolu- 
tion to refer the question of a Constitutional Conven- 
tion to the popular vote received more than the two- 
thirds vote required by the fundamental law. The 
Belleville Advocate soon listed seventeen reasons for a 
convention and in successive issues proceeded to explain 
them to its readers, who seem to have responded 
favorably to the program set forth.^ Most of the 
political spokesmen of the day, however, hesitated to 
place specific reasons for a convention before the voters 
with the result that the election of August i, 1842, 
revealed a serious indifference on the part of the elector- 
ate and the proposition failed to secure the required 
majority. 

Again in 1845 the General Assembly moved to 
submit the proposition to the electorate and this time 
the convention backers carried the day by a vote of 
57,806 to 18,568.' There followed a fight between 
northern Illinois and Egypt as to whether the census 
of 1 840 or the figures of 1 845 should be used as a basis 

^Belteville Advocate, October 21, December 2, 9, 1841. 

^The figures in the Secretary of State's Records of Election Returns, 1:364-365, 
are too incomplete for citation. 

'Records of Election Returns, 1:476-477. Tlie gubernatorial contest of the 
same year drew out 100,847 votes. Both elections were held on August 3, 1846. 



xvi ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

for apportionment. In this skirmish the northern 
advocates of the 1 845 basis were successful in securing 
for their section the advantage of its rapid growth 
during the forties. On April ig, 1847, the election of 
delegates took place. By this time the party leaders 
were trying to define a strategy which would enable 
them to control the situation. The Democrats became 
more and more vocal on the importance of an anti-bank 
provision, of popular election of state officials, including 
even supreme court judges, of an effective veto power, 
and of insuring the infusion of pure democratic princi- 
ples into the fundamental law. The Whigs openly 
accepted the popular demand for economy and reform; 
inwardly they nursed hopes of excluding foreigners 
from suffrage by a citizenship qualification and of 
inserting a clause permitting some sort of a banking 
system. The Democrats hauled out the obligation of 
party regularity while the Whigs concealed their 
ambitions in a subtle insinuating appeal to a "no 
party" stand.^ When at length the results of the 
election were tabulated it was found that while the 
Democrats had elected a safe majority with gi out of 
the 162 delegates, the Whigs were represented in 
sufficient force to occasion a grave element of uncer- 
tainty in the work of the convention. 

The Constitutional Convention which assembled at 
Springfield, June 7, 1847, included only 7 native Illi- 
noisians. There were 26 New Englanders, 38 from 
the middle states, 35 from the South Atlantic seaboard, 
41 from Kentucky and Tennessee, and 10 from Ohio 

*See Campbell's complaint against this "no party" trick, post, 480: "He 
scorned such tricks, preferring the bold, manly course of a whig like Harry of the 
West, who never said 'no party.' " See also Illinois Stale Register, April 2. 



INTRODUCTION xvii 

and Indiana.^ Here was eloquent testimony to the 
westward course of empire. Of the delegates, the 
farmers with 75 were most numerous, but there were 
54 lawyers, besides 12 physicians, g merchants, 5 
mechanics, and 7 others. It was a body of young men 
nearer in age to the two twenty-six-year-old delegates 
than the sage of sixty-six. 

Several members brought to the convention valued 
experiences garnered in long and active political careers. 
The most conspicuous of these was Zadoc Casey, of 
Mt. Vernon, whose public services had already included 
a term as lieutenant-governor, and five terms in Con- 
gress. At the age of fifty-one, however, he seems to 
have lost much of his vigor of action, so that the quiet 
influence of his presence was greater than that of his 
utterances before the convention; there was complaint, 
indeed, that instead of participating in the debates and 
giving the delegates the benefit of his age and experience, 
he offered "nothing but continual croaking, adjourn! 
adjourn. "« 

The group of more active participants in the con- 
vention debates included delegates in various stages of 
their public careers. William R. Archer, a rising young 
lawyer from Pittsfield, displayed qualities of leadership 
which explain his later political activity. Albert G. 
Caldwell, a Shawneetown attorney, Charles H. Con- 
stable, an influential Whig leader and state senator, 
were frequently on the floor of the convention. Thomp- 
son Campbell of Galena, who had for four years 
rendered capable service as secretary of state, was an 

^ Five of foreign birth included three from Scotland and one each from Germany 
and Ireland. See list of members; cf. AUon Telegraph and Democratic Review, 
July 9. 

^ See, post, 843. 



xviii ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

energetic and eloquent spokesman of the Democratic 
faith. John Dement, the Dixon delegate, by his 
activity qualified for his later services in the constitu- 
tional conventions of 1862, and 1869-1870. Ninian 
W. Edwards, an agressive veteran Whig legislator from 
Springfield, David L. Gregg, an influential Chicagoan 
of opposite stripe, Samuel S. Hayes, the twenty-six- 
year-old delegate from Carmi, and Lincoln B. Knowlton, 
the eloquent Peoria lawyer, were frequently on the 
floor. Samuel D. Lockwood of Jacksonville, and 
Stephen T. Logan of Springfield, two staunch conserva- 
tive Whig veterans, honored the convention with the 
experiences of their long political careers. The young 
lawyer from Carlinville, John M. Palmer, at this 
convention laid the foundations for the brilliant career 
which lay ahead of him. Judge Walter B. Scates of Mt. 
Vernon, was one of the most active influences in the 
convention. James W. Singleton of Mt. Sterling, 
Archibald Williams of Quincy, and David M. Woodson 
of Carrollton, aggressively upheld the Whig cause 
against the attacks of various capable Democratic 
opponents, among whom were Francis C. Sherman 
of Chicago, and Hezekiah M. Wead, a lawyer from 
Lewistown.' 

The organization of the convention by the Demo- 
cratic majority with Newton Cloud of Waverly as 
presiding officer, removed the potent influence of this 
preacher-farmer-legislator from the active counsels of 
the convention. The Whigs did not place a party 
candidate in the field but aided in the election of Cloud 

'During the early days of the session a contemporary critic complained of an 
unwarrantable propensity for making speeches among " the unfledged politicians, 
and embryo statesmen." Allan Telegraph and Democratic Review, June 25. 



INTRODUCTION xix 

over Zadoc Casey.' Henry W. Moore, a Gallatin 
County lawyer, was engaged to act as secretary and 
John A. Wilson as sergeant-at-arms. 

The convention was now ready to proceed. The 
Sangamon County Whig delegates, Edwards and Logan, 
proposed, on the basis of economy, to ignore the legis- 
lative arrangement for the election of a printer with a 
fixed compensation and to let the work to the lowest 
responsible and capable bidder. They also opposed the 
election of assistant secretaries and of an assistant to the 
sergeant-at-arms. The Whig keynote, "economy, re- 
trenchment, and reform," had already been sounded by 
Benjamin Bond of Carlyle, in a successful appeal to the 
convention to Hmit the number and pay of officers of 
the convention. The Democrats, unwilling to lose the 
fruits of their victory at the polls, challenged such 
economy and fought to rescind the Bond resolution; 
they claimed that all matters pertaining to the number 
and pay of officers had been settled in the legislative 
act which ordered the convention. They challenged 
the brand of economy that involved days of debate and 
a protracted session in order to save a few salary items. 
At length by sheer weight of numbers the Democrats 
won out and later elected the additional officers. The 
four days of debate on these preliminary questions 
seem not to have been entirely wasted. The discussion 
on economy developed into a consideration of the 
relative powers of the legislative authority of the state 
and of the convention; and while certain Democratic 
members regarded the Whig economy stand as involv- 

'The Democratic caucus was unable to agree upon a candidate. Casey was 
brought forward as an anti-bank man and Dement withdrew in his favor; Cloud 
was supported by the advocates of a regulated banking system. Chicago Democrat, 
June 15, 22. 



XX ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

ing a waste of time "spent in demagogueism, in making 
speeches for Buncome,"' others, Hke Campbell of Jo 
Daviess, agreed with their opponents that the discussion 
was worth while because of its value in clearing up 
questions and enabling members "ta arrive at the true 
principles on which they should act/'^" 

The sixth day of the convention completed the 
preliminary work of organization. The rules of the 
convention had been agreed upon. Standing com- 
mittees had been announced, and the order of procedure 
defined. The original constitution was to be read 
article by article and section by section and the amend- 
ing propositions were to be referred for consideration 
to appropriate committees. On the fourth day, Wood- 
son had presented a set of resolutions defining the 
authority of the three departments of state govern- 
ment; this proved to be an attempt, on the part of at 
least certain Whigs, to steal a march on their opponents, 
and after an extended debate the formal order of proce- 
dure was agreed upon. 

On June 14, the question of the advisability of 
printing the debates was raised. Lanphier and Walker, 
who had been chosen official printers, were publishing 
in the Siaie Register a record which, although fairly 
comprehensive, reflected the lack of formal obligation 
to present an accurate and complete account. The 
Register left to its rival, the Sangamo Journal, the 
opportunity of doing justice to addresses by Whig 
delegates. The reporters in any case defined their 
obligations in terms of journalistic practice rather than 
in terms of historical accuracy. But while the debate 

^Ste post, 30. 
'"Seepoi/, 38; cf. 31, 



INTRODUCTION xxi 

brought out a substantial agreement that "the pub- 
Hshed reports of the speeches of members of this body, 
as found in the newspapers of this city, are very inac- 
curate and faulty,"" considerations of economy bore 
down the proposition for an official version; and the 
suggestion that the members personally contribute to 
the expenses of publishing the debates was never 
formally considered. 

The convention of 1847 performed its task in a day 
when party allegiance weighed heavily upon the voter 
and his representative. The delegates in this case had 
been chosen primarily upon party lines altered to some 
extent by complex sectionalistic forces. The most 
fundamental force was the cleavage between the 
Democratic apostles of human rights and Whig cham- 
pionship of the rights of property. The Whigs trembled 
before the menace of "radicalism," of "Locofocoism;" 
the Democrats were kept in a state of terror by the 
incubus of "bankism" and its companion bogies. But 
sectional influences at times not only allayed these fears 
but even produced Whig "radicals" and Democratic 
"bankites." 

The Whig delegates went to the convention with a 
strong conviction that it was their duty to "dull the 
edge of radicahsm, " to keep the new constitution from 
being made the "plaything of Locofocoism. "'^ From 
the very start radicalism seemed to show "its cloven 
foot in the proceedings of the dominant party," but the 

"See post, 75. Members frequently found it necessary to correct the news- 
paper accounts. See note 3, page 20, note 9, page 48, note 17, page 89. As 
influential a delegate as Scates commented on omissions as follows: "He would also 
state that there was no fear of his speeches being published; the reporters never 
reported him. He had made no arrangements with them for that purpose." See 
post, 792. 

^^ Chicago Daily Journal, April 22; cf. Belleville Advocate, June 3. 



xxii ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Whigs were pleasantly surprised with the conservatism 
that revealed itself in a majority of the body." On 
many points, too, Whigs could not but yield to the 
democratic trend of the age. But on questions that 
permitted a party alignment they rallied their forces 
almost to a man.'* 

The supreme test of strength between the conven- 
tion parties came over the question of bank or no bank. 
The Democrats, who had for years been insisting that 
bank charters were "inconsistent with democracy or 
religion,"" who had sought to arouse the people against 
efforts to renew "the miserable rag system by which 
they have already lost so much,"'" had raised this issue 
in the convention election. The Whigs, fearful of the 
"popular clamor" against banks, had evaded the 
question except in their own strongholds." The 
election revealed not only a remarkable showing for the 
Whig candidates but even the election of a considerable 
group of "bank Democrats." The tendency of leading 
Democratic spokesmen to turn the "bank Democrats" 
over to the opposition,'* no doubt consolidated the 
pro-bank party and made it a conservative force by 
which other Whig propositions were carried. 

In organizing the convention the bank party had 
supported Newton Cloud, as favorable to banks under 

^^ Chicago Daily Journal, June 14; Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review, 
June II, 25. The Telegraph actually forecast a constitution "that will be satis- 
factory to the people, and beneficial to the State." 

^*Illinois State Register, July 31, August 6; Shawneetown Democrat, in 
Chicago Democrat, August 24. 

^^ Chicago Democrat, January 26, 1846. 

^^Joliet Democrat, in ihid., July 18, 1846. 

^'' Chicago Daily Journal, March 18; Sangamo Journal, April 29; cf. Illinois 
State Register, July i. 

""We freely turn over to their aid every bank democrat in the State (if there 
is such a white blackbird)." Chicago Democrat, April 6; cf. ibid., April 13. 



INTRODUCTION xxiii 

proper restrictions, over Casey, a straight-out anti-bank 
man. So the bank issue was in the foreground from 
the very start. Lines were drawn between those in 
favor of a complete prohibition of banks and those 
willing to accept a properly safeguarded general banking 
system." 

On June 14, in spite of the fact that the convention 
had voted a regular order of procedure which made such 
action premature, anti-bank resolutions were intro- 
duced by Markley and Pratt and the rules suspended 
to permit their reference. From this time the bank 
question was almost daily before the convention, 
consuming a large share of its time and efforts. On 
fourteen days of the session it was the direct subject of 
debate and was almost as frequently linked with other 
questions that came up. On June 15, Hurlbut brought 
up a resolution in favor of the liberal New York system 
of banking. Opportunity was then afforded to take 
test votes which resulted in a rejection of both the New 
York system and the prohibition proposition.^") Only 
fifty-two Democrats and six Whigs from southern 
counties lined up for complete restriction; it was as 
much a case of northern Illinois versus Egypt as Whig 
versus Democrat. On June 11, Gregg of Cook County 
introduced resolutions to inquire into the expediency of 
a highly restrictive general banking law. The fight 
then centered on the question of absolute prohibition 
or a regulated system. The committee on incorpora- 
tions finally brought in a majority report for restriction 

"According to an early canvass only one Whig, Davis of Bond, was for prohi- 
bition while two Democratic members from Will, two from Morgan, two from Du 
Page, one from Cook, and probably others were opposed to absolute prohibition. 
Chicago Daily Journal, June ii\ cf. Illinois State Register, June 19, 24. 

''^Illinois State Register, June 24, 25. 



xxiv ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

and a minority report for prohibition.^^ In the first 
half of August this question was contested to a decision. 
The final result was an article prohibiting a state bank, 
but permitting the legislature to enact laws authorizing 
corporations or associations with banking powers 
provided that they should not go into effect until sub- 
mitted to the popular vote. 

The Whigs made their first offensive move in pro- 
posing a poll tax on June i6. They defended it on the 
basis that every class, and not merely the property 
holders, should bear a share of the public burdens. 
Democratic spokesmen exploded the assumption that 
non-property-holders did not contribute to the support 
of the state and condemned the tax as wrong in princi- 
ple. After a long discussion the poll tax proposition 
was carried, io8 to 49, leaving the levy of the tax to the 
discretion of the legislature. The Democratic support 
of this proposition came largely from southern Illinois. -^ 

The Democrats had always charged their opponents 
with nativism; the debates at the convention of 1847 
showed that this charge was not without a foundation 
of truth. This was first suggested in the proposal that 
"no person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of 
the United States at the time of the adoption of this 
constitution, shall be eligible to the office of Governor;" 
the Whigs generally took a stand in favor of this 
provision or of Logan's amendment requiring a fourteen- 
year residence period of naturalized citizens. The 
party line was even more sharply defined later when the 

2' Harvey presented the majority report and Kinney the minority. Both were 
Democrats. See poj/, 312-315. 

"See Chicago Democrat, June 22. Wead and Farwell objected to this 
special burden upon residents of the state while non-residents " by whom the greater 
part of the land in our state was owned, paid none of it." See post, 622, 624. 



INTRODUCTION xxv 

suffrage question came up and the Whigs insisted upon 
a citizenship quahfication for all who should in the 
future immigrate to lUinois. The Democrats generally 
defended the right of foreigners to a voice in elections 
but defection from their ranks enabled the Whigs to 
carry their point for what they considered a true 
Americanism. 23 

In the matter of the veto power the Whigs won 
another victory. The Democrats had come to the 
convention with a strong determination to provide for 
an effective gubernatorial veto sufficiently guarded 
from abuse. In general they preferred that a veto 
should be overriden by nothing short of a two-thirds 
vote. The Democratic leaders eloquently expounded 
their position and cracked the whip to bring their 
followers Into line; but when the constitution took 
shape, the Whigs rejoiced in an arrangement which 
permitted the same majority which should have passed 
a law in the first instance, to enact it over the guber- 
natorial veto. 

Most Whigs, as well as Democrats, had yielded to 
the democratic tendency toward a popular election of 
state officials, toward even an elective judiciary. 
Largely for political reasons, which received strong 
sectional reinforcement, they advocated the proposition 
of having the supreme court consist of three judges 
elected by the three respective sections of the state. 
The Democrats favored the general ticket system of 
election which would enable them to control the entire 
body by capitalizing their numerical superiority. 
After a long verbal battle it was agreed that the state 

'^Illinois Stale Register, July 27, 29, August 26; Journal of the Convention, 206, 
207. 



xxvi ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

should be divided into three grand divisions and the 
qualified electors of each division should elect one of 
the judges for a period of nine years, with the proviso 
that after the first election the general assembly might 
have the power "to provide by law for their election by 
the whole state, or by divisions," as it might deem 
expedient. This was clearly a compromise arrange- 
ment. 

A lively skirmish took place over negro immigration 
into the state. A little corporal's guard of anti-slavery 
men went to the convention determined not only to 
incorporate a slavery prohibition into the constitution 
but also to remove any legal basis for acknowledging 
its existence in other states. The Covenanters of Perry 
County and citizens of Randolph County encouraged 
them with petitions praying the abolition of all civil 
and political distinctions on account of color and the 
motion by Whitney of Boone County to strike out 
"white" in the resolution defining the franchise arrayed 
the seven champions of negro rights against the 137 
other delegates. ^^ 

Next, Bond of Clinton County brought in a resolu- 
tion in favor of an article prohibiting the immigration 
of free negroes into the state. This precipitated a 
heated debate with dramatic scenes. Again party lines 
broke down and northern delegates wrestled against 
the power of southern and central lUinois.^^ The 
committee on the Bill of Rights eventually brought in a 
section instructing the legislature to enact laws to 
prohibit negro immigration. It was later decided, 

^Stepost, lojtf., 170 fF. 

2^0n a test vote of eighty-seven to fifty-six, only eleven Democrats voted in the 
negative. Only five votes came from delegates representing counties south of 
Morgan County. Journal of the Convention, 455-456. 



INTRODUCTION ' xxvii 

however, to make an independent article of the negro 
immigration restriction with provision for separate 
ratification. A numerous minority tried to secure the 
adoption of clauses prohibiting the extension of suffrage 
to negroes and mulattoes, rendering them ineligible to 
hold office, and prohibiting the intermarriage of blacks 
and whites. It was pointed out, however, that this 
was an impHed admission of their possession of such 
rights as citizens of Illinois and of the United States and 
such clauses were accordingly omitted from the consti- 
tution. 

While the Illinois convention of 1 847 worked at its 
tasks, war was raging between the United States and the 
Mexican republic to the south. Abraham Lincoln in 
behalf of Illinois Whiggery, claimed that the war had 
been "unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced 
by the President." On July 11, 1847, the Reverend 
Albert Hale, pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church 
of Springfield, delivered two sermons in which he boldly 
proclaimed the injustice of the national cause and its 
demoralizing effect upon the nation. In the course of 
his remarks he was said to have stated that the volun- 
teer, who was just then being welcomed back as a hero, 
had been transformed by the war into a "moral pest 
to society."^^ 

Mr. Hale was one of the local clergymen who had 
officiated in the convention at the opening prayers. 
On July 12, Akin of Franklin county denounced Hale's 
preaching before the convention and proposed that the 
clergyman "be excused from holding prayers in this 
convention for the future." The convention, however, 

2«See post, 387; Illinois Slate Register, July 22. 



xxviii ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

by an overwhelming vote adopted a motion to table 
Akin's resolution. A long debate followed: the resolu- 
tion was renewed, but John M. Palmer, a pro-war 
Democrat, moved a substitute declaring the principles 
of freedom of worship and freedom of speech and dis- 
claiming "all censorship over the pulpit, or the opinions 
expressed therefrom, inasmuch as such censorship is in 
violation of the rights of the Rev. gentleman."" The 
resolution virtually sustaining Mr. Hale was barely 
tabled (60-54), but the general declaration in favor of 
the principles involved was upheld (9-102). The 
convention then adjourned in order to proceed to 
Jacksonville to participate in the ceremonies attendant 
upon the funeral of Colonel Hardin, the Illinois war 
hero, in whose memory the delegates were, according 
to unanimous agreement, wearing crepe arm bands for 
a period of thirty days. 

When Mr. Hale next appeared before the convention 
to offer prayer he was "grossly insulted and menaced 
with bodily injury by a member of the convention." 
On July 2,0, therefore, it was agreed that "whereas, it 
is alike due to the Convention and the ministers that 
we should not invite them to perform that duty unless 
we could secure them against such indignities," the 
custom of opening prayers should be discontinued, not 
"from any dissatisfaction with the manner in which 
they [the clergymen] have discharged their sacred duty, 
but solely from an unwillingness to subject them to a 
repetition of such indignities." 

On July 11, Hale's assailant was given a further 
rebuke in a debate over a resolution concerning the 

'" Journal of the Convention, i68. 



INTRODUCTION xxix 

election of a chaplain, which was defeated because it 
might have been interpreted as the result of a desire 
"to get rid of our chaplains and to procure others. "^^ 
On July 26 the resolution of July 20 was rescinded and 
the president was requested to provide for the opening 
of the morning session with prayer. 

By the middle of August the Whigs, with Demo- 
cratic assistance, had carried every point upon which 
they had cared to make a stand. Democratic critics 
of orthodox stripe were completely disgusted. The 
correspondent of the Chicago Democrat suggested that 
the convention ought to be turned out "a la Cromwell:" 
"The truth is, the convention is too horribly conserva- 
tive to be of much use. Liberal principles stand no 
chance whatever. . . . True Republicanism is daily 
spurned and trampled under foot."-' There was also 
fear that the plan of apportionment for the senate 
endangered Democratic control of that body, if it did 
not actually turn it over to the Whigs.'" 

After the convention had finished its work, zealous 
Democratic champions became more and more con- 
vinced that the new constitution was "a mongrel 
affair" likely to "make trouble."" Inasmuch, how- 
ever, as 131 out of 138 members of the convention had 
given a final endorsement to the new constitution, few 
were willing to come out into a position of open hostil- 
ity. Whigs meantime proclaimed the document as 
worthy of support because it was not a party constitu- 

^See post, 487. 

""Buena Vista" on August ii, in Chicago Democrat, August 24. See also 
"Beuna Vista" on August 6, in ibid., August 17; Shawneetown Democrat in ibid., 
August 24. 

^Chicago Democrat, January 4, 1848. 

^'Mark Skinner to Governor A. C. French, February 29, 1848, French papers; 
see also Koerner, Memoirs, 1 : 523-524. 



XXX ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

tion. Everyone agreed that many of its provisions 
were a decided improvement upon the old constitution, 
and this made it risky to reject a document wrought 
at so much expense to the state. To the average voter 
the strict regard for economy displayed by the conven- 
tion was an important factor in attracting his support.'^ 
In the ratification election on March 6, 1848, the 
constitution was adopted by a vote of 60,585 to 15,903. 
The separate negro immigration clause was ratified, 
50,261 to 21,297. The convention, confronting the 
huge indebtedness which spelled virtual bankruptcy for 
the state, had decided not only to practice economy 
but also to stabilize public credit. A two mill tax was 
therefore agreed upon with provision for separate 
ratification. For this feature there was little enthus- 
iasm although it was adopted, 41,349 to 30,945. Thus 
with a narrow gauge economy was linked a device which 
later aided materially in the financial rehabilitation of 
Illinois. 

'^Bel/evilk Advocate, January 20, 1848; §iiincy JVhig, February 2, 1848. 



INTRODUCTION xxix 

election of a chaplain, which was defeated because it 
might have been interpreted as the result of a desire 
"to get rid of our chaplains and to procure others. "=^ 
On July 26 the resolution of July 20 was rescinded and 
the president was requested to provide for the opening 
of the morning session with prayer. 

By the middle of August the Whigs, with Demo- 
cratic assistance, had carried every point upon which 
they had cared to make a stand. Democratic critics 
of orthodox stripe were completely disgusted. The 
correspondent of the Chicago Democrat suggested that 
the convention ought to be turned out "a la Cromwell:" 
"The truth is, the convention is too horribly conserva- 
tive to be of much use. Liberal principles stand no 
chance whatever. . . . True Republicanism is daily 
spurned and trampled under foot."29 There was also 
fear that the plan of apportionment for the senate 
endangered Democratic control of that body, if it did 
not actually turn it over to the Whigs.^" 

After the convention had finished its work, zealous 
Democratic champions became more and more con- 
vinced that the new constitution was "a mongrel 
affair" likely to "make trouble."" Inasmuch, how- 
ever, as 131 out of 138 members of the convention had 
given a final endorsement to the new constitution, few 
were willing to come out into a position of open hostil- 
ity. Whigs meantime proclaimed the document as 
worthy of support because it was not a party constitu- 

^Seepoi/, 487. 

^'"Buena Vista" on August ii, in Chicago Democrat, August 24. See also 
"Beuna Vista" on August 6, in ibid., August 17; Shawneetown Democrat in ibid., 
August 24. 

^"Chicago Democrat, Jajiuary 4, 1848. 

^'Mark Skinner to Governor A. C. French, February 29, 1848, French papers; 
see also Koerner, Memoirs, i : 523-524. 



XXX ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

tion. Everyone agreed that many of its provisions 
were a decided improvement upon the old constitution, 
and this made it risky to reject a document wrought 
at so much expense to the state. To the average voter 
the strict regard for economy displayed by the conven- 
tion was an important factor in attracting his support.'^ 
In the ratification election on March 6, 1848, the 
constitution was adopted by a vote of 60,585 to 15,903. 
The separate negro immigration clause was ratified, 
50,261 to 21,297. The convention, confronting the 
huge indebtedness which spelled virtual bankruptcy for 
the state, had decided not only to practice economy 
but also to stabilize public credit. A two mill tax was 
therefore agreed upon with provision for separate 
ratification. For this feature there was little enthus- 
iasm although it was adopted, 41,349 to 30,945. Thus 
with a narrow gauge economy was linked a device which 
later aided materially in the financial rehabilitation of 
Illinois. 

''^Belleville Advocate, January 20, 1848; putney Whig, February 2, 1848. 



I. MONDAY, JUNE 7, 1847 

In pursuance of the provisions of the act of the General 
Assembly, approved Feb. 20, 1847, entitled "An act to provide 
for the call of a Convention," the delegates to said Convention, 
chosen under said act, assembled this day in the hall of the House 
of Representatives, in the state house at Springfield, at 3 o'clock, 
p. M. 

Mr. SHERMAN called the Convention to order,i and moved 
that Zadoc Casey be appointed President pro tern.; which motion 
was unanimously adopted. 

On motion of Mr. SCATES, Louis M. Booth was appointed 
Secretary pro tern., and J. A. Wilson, doorkeeper pro tern. 

On motion of Mr. SHERMAN, Mr. Cline was appointed 
assistant door-keeper pro tern. 

Mr. THOMPSON moved that the names of the members be 
called. 

Mr. SCATES suggested the propriety of having a magistrate 
to adminster the oath to the members. 

The CHAIR suggested that no oath was necessary; and he 
further suggested that, as the Secretary called the members by 
counties, they present their credentials. 

On motion of Mr. DEMENT, Mr. Moore of Gallatin county 
was appointed Assistant Secretary pro tern. 

The Secretary then called over the list of delegates, who, as their 
names were called, presented their certificates of election; after 
which they were again called, alphabetically, and the Chair 
announced that there were one hundred and fifty-four delegates 
in attendance. 

Mr. SCATES offered the following resolution: 

Resolved, That each delegate of this Convention, before pro- 
ceeding to the transaction of any business, take an oath to support 
the Constitution of the United States. 

' Biographical sketches of the members and officers of the constitutional 
convention will be found in the biographical appendix. 



2 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

In offering the above, Mr. S. said, he was aware that the 
powers of this Convention are elementary, and that the members 
were not under any obligation to take an oath; yet, while there 
was no form of an oath prescribed for the members, he hoped they 
would take this one. — There was ao apparent propriety in the 
oath, as no form of government they could adopt would be valid 
unless it corresponded with the constitution of the United States. 
Mr. THOMAS was not satisfied with the oath proposed to the 
Convention by the gentleman from Jefferson. Where was the 
necessity for any oath? This Convention represented the sover- 
eignty of the state of Illinois. Its members were not responsible 
to any power for the violation of the oath, if taken. No punish- 
ment could be awarded for a breach of it. He would remind the 
gentleman that there were constitutions adopted in other states 
before the United States had a constitution, and, therefore, 
he could see no obligation to swear to support the constitution 
of the United States. This was his present view, but if the 
gentleman could satisfy him that it was proper, he would vote 
for it. 

Mr. MINSHALL said that there would seem a manifest pro- 
priety in taking an oath which, although it might be said, would 
impose no additional obligation, still could work no injury. 
Further, that as no form of government could be established by 
this Convention that would differ in character from that of the 
constitution of the United States, it appeared to him quite proper, 
though perhaps not necessary, to take an oath to support the 
constitution of the United States. He, however, would move, 
as an amendment to the resolution, the following, to be added 
thereto: "and to faithfully discharge the duties of their office 
as delegates of this Convention, for the purpose of revising and 
amending the constitution of the state of Illinois." 

The amendment having been agreed to, the question was put 
on the resolution, as amended, and decided in the affirmative. 

Mr. DAWSON moved that William Lavely, esq., be called 
within the bar to administer the oath. 

Mr. LOGAN said, that for the purpose of economizing time, 
he hoped that the oath would be administered to the body collec- 
tively; which mode would save considerable time, and could be 



MONDAY, JUNE 7, 1847 3 

performed by the members without leaving their seats, simply by 
raising the hand. He made a motion to that effect. 

Mr. SCATES hoped the oath would be administered, if done 
at all, in a more dignified manner than that suggested by the 
member from Sangamon. The plan suggested might save a few 
moments' time, but would not comport with the proper dignity 
which should accompany the administration of an oath. It 
reminded him of the manner in which the oath of allegiance was 
administered by the conquerers of New Mexico. 

Mr. LOGAN then moved a division of the question; which 
was lost. 

The members then were called to the desk by the Secretary, 
ten at a time, and the oath, as adopted, was administered to them 
by Wm. Lavely, esq. 

Mr. SERVANT moved that the Convention adjourn. Nega- 
tived — yeas (,2, nays 92. 

Mr. BOND offered the following resolution: 

Resolved, That we will now proceed to organize this Con- 
vention, by electing a President, one Secretary, and one 
Sergeant-at-arms, and that no other officers shall be consti- 
tuted or appointed until it becomes necessary, in the opinion 
of the President and principal Secretary, to employ some 
competent person to assist the Secretary in the discharge 
of his duties; when the Secretary may employ a competent 
assistant, to whom shall be paid the sum of two dollars per 
day, while necessarily employed; Provided, the Sergeant-at-arms 
may, in his discretion, employ some able-bodied person to assist 
him in discharging his duties, to whom there shall be paid a sum 
of one dollar per day, for each day necessarily employed; and he 
may employ two active, orderly, and competent boys as messengers, 
&c., who shall each be paid the sum of fifty cents per day for the 
time employed. 

In offering this resolution, he had but a few words to say. He 
intended no speech in support of it. If not all, many of us came 
here for purposes of economy, retrenchment, and reform. This 
proposition at this season can carry out that purpose. We can 
at this season of the year dispense with many officers; for after the 
Convention is organized, the Secretary alone can perform all the 



4 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

duties of the office. We need, at least I think, but one Secretary; 
there is no necessity for an assistant. The resolution, however, 
provides for the employment of pne when his services are required. 
— There is not the mass of business, nor the great amount of 
copying to be done, as is the case at a meeting of the Legislature. 
The Sergeant-at-arms, when he required assistance, was em- 
powered to employ it, at two dollars per day. The resolution he 
understood would meet with entire approbation. The boys pro- 
vided for by the resolution can easily be procured here, at the rate 
fixed — fifty cents a day. 

The resolution, upon a division, was adopted. Under it, the 
Chair announced the next business to be the election of a President 
of the Convention, and suggested that the mode of electing him 
was as the Convention would direct. 

Mr. WILLIAMS reminded the Chair that the act of the 
Legislature providing for a call of a Convention, directed that he 
should be chosen by ballot. We might, it is true, repeal the direc- 
tion, but until it was repealed, he considered that we should con- 
form to it. He moved that they proceed to elect by ballot. 

The reading of the law was called for, and the Secretary read 
the 5th section of the act providing for a call of the Convention. 
The motion was then put and carried. 

The Chair appointed Messrs. Logan, Scates, and Dunlap, . 
tellers; and they, having received the ballots of the members, and 
counted them, reported as follows: 

For Newton Cloud, 84; Zadoc Casey, 65; Archibald 
Williams, a; Cyrus Edwards, 2. 

Whereupon, the Chair announced that Newton Cloud, esq., 
had been elected President of the Convention, and requested 
Messrs. Thompson and Hay to conduct him to the chair. 

Upon taking the chair, the President said — 

Gentlemen of the Convention: It is but proper, on entering 
upon the duty assigned me by the choice just made, that I should 
return you my'most sincere thanks for the honor you have con- 
ferred. 

I enter~upon the discharge of the duties of President of this 
Convention|with^much*embarrassment, for I feel that I have a 
difficult and important duty assigned me. 



MONDAY, JUNE 7, 1847 5 

I can only promise that my best efforts shall be made to dis- 
charge that duty faithfully and impartially, and that all the little 
ability that I possess shall be devoted to the despatch and further- 
ance of the public business. I will not allude, however remotely, 
to the great objects upon which we have been called to act, but 
will conclude by returning you again my sincere thanks for the 
honor you have conferred on me. 

Mr. DAVIS of McLean moved to proceed to the election of a 
Secretary by acclamation. 

Mr. THOMAS. We are not all in favor of the same man. 
I object. 

Mr. DAVIS. I, then, move to vote for Secretary viva voce; 
which motion was adopted. 

Mr. WILLIAMS nominated Mr. Burt of Quincy. 

Mr. BALLINGALL nominated H. W. Moore of Gallatin and 
the Convention proceeded to vote for Secretary. 

Mr. MooRE received 91 votes; Mr. Burt, 59; scattering, i; 
and Mr. Moore was declared elected. 

Mr. ALLEN nominated, for Sergeant-at-arms, Mr. J. A. 
Wilson. 

Mr. CONSTABLE moved that Mr. Wilson be elected by 
acclamation, and, after some debate, withdrew the motion. 

The Convention divided on the nomination, and Mr. Wilson 
was declared elected, he receiving 99 votes. 

Mr. THOMAS moved the Convention adjourn. Lost — yeas 
53, nays not counted. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess moved that the Convention 
proceed to the election of a printer. 

Mr. LOGAN moved to lay this motion on the table, to enable 
him to offer a resolution in relation to the selection of a printer; 
which motion was carried. 

Mr. LOGAN then offered the following resolution: 

Resolved, That the printing of this Convention shall be let to 
the lowest responsible and capable bidder. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Sangamon offered, as a substitute: "That 
a committee of five be appointed by the President to receive 
proposals for the printing of the proceedings of the Convention, 



6 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

and that they be directed to contract with the lowest responsible 
bidder, and report at as early a day as practicable. 

Mr. SHERMAN asked, are we not getting along a little too 
fast with this resolution? The law provides that we shall elect 
a printer, and that law fixes the price to be paid, with which the 
Convention has nothing to do. 

Mr. LOGAN said that, waiving for the present a discussion of 
the right of the Legislature to limit this Convention, look at the 
proposition in another way. Can we not receive the bids of all 
persons who may desire to perform this work, with the rates, &c., 
compare them with the rates allowed the public printer, and then 
can we not elect that one who will do it the cheapest? 

Mr. DEMENT rose, not for the purpose, particularly, of 
opposing the resolution, but to inquire of some of the members of 
the last Assembly how far the words, "shall receive the same com- 
pensation as is allowed by the present Assembly," have effect 
upon this resolution. He did not intend to argue whether we have 
the power to go beyond the law, but how far, inasmuch as we had 
obeyed the restriction of the law in one case, the election of 
President by ballot, we should still go with that law. As soon as 
we had chosen the President by the mode prescribed in this law, we 
then, when the law requires no form of election, dispose of the 
others in the most summary manner. This was conceded by 
gentlemen for the purpose of conforming to the act of the Legis- 
lature; and he apprehended that the resolution now offered did 
come in conflict with those words of the act in relation to the 
printer, where it says "he shall receive the same compensation as 
the same officer receives from the present General Assembly." 
He moved to lay the resolution on the table, but withdrew it, at the 
request of 

Mr. SCATES, who said that the act of the Legislature provided 
a compensation to be allowed for printing for the Convention. 

The resolution stating what should be the officers of this Con- 
vention had been passed without debate; and he disliked to see 
resolutions spread on the record appropriating money without 
authority. Where have you the power to do so? He doubted 
very much if the members of the Convention could get paid for 
their services unless the Legislature had provided and appropriated 



MONDAY, JUNE 7, 1847 7 

the means for that purpose. The constitution of the state ex- 
pressly states how and by whom money shall be appropriated. 
The Legislature has fixed our pay; we can take less, but no 
more. The Legislature has provided a printer for us, and fixed his 
compensation, and states that he shall be elected by the Convention. 
The resolution now before us confers the power upon five members 
of this body to give the printing. We may receive the services of 
the printer, under that contract, but can we, appropriate the money 
to pay for it? He disliked to do things where the power to act 
was of a doubtful character. He would like the resolution already 
passed, changing the pay of the door-keepers, rescinded, and the 
present one laid on the table. He moved to lay the resolution 
on the table. 

Mr. LOGAN demanded the yeas and nays; which were ordered 
and taken, and the resolution was laid on the table — yeas 82, 
nays 70. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess renewed his motion to proceed 
to the election of a printer. 

Mr. WILLIAMS stated that one reason why the resolution of 
Mr. Logan had been laid on the table, was to enable members to 
reflect on the matter. He was for economy; and if there was any 
person willing to do the work cheaper than another, he desired to 
give it to him. He moved to lay Mr. C.'s motion on the table; 
which was carried. 

Mr. EDWARDS moved that a committee of five be appointed 
to prepare and report rules and regulations for the government of 
this Convention. Agreed to. 

A motion to adopt, for the present government of the Conven- 
tion, the rules of the last House of Representatives, was laid on 
the table. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Madison offered the following resolution; 
which was adopted: 

Resolved, That the Secretary be directed to call upon the 
clergy of the different denominations in the city, and to solicit 
an arrangement among them for opening every morning, by prayer, 
the meetings of the Convention. 

Mr. BALLINGALL offered the following resolution; which 
was adopted: 



8 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Resohedy That the Secretary prepare ballots, properly num- 
bered, for seats for the members of the Convention, and that the 
members proceed thereafter to draw the ballots for their respective 
seats. 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin offered the following resolution; 
which was adopted: 

Resolved, That the editors and reporters of the newspapers 
published in this state be allowed seats within the bar of this hall. 

On motion, the Convention adjourned till to-morrow, at lo 
o'clock, A. M. 



II. TUESDAY, JUNE 8, 1847 

After an appropriate prayer by the Rev. Mr. Barger^ of 
Springfield, the Convention resumed its deliberations. 

Pursuant to the resolution adopted yesterday, the members 
proceeded to draw the ballots for their respective seats in the hall. 

Mr. BROCKMAN offered the following resolution; which was 
adopted: 

Resolved, That for the comfort and convenience of the members 
of this Convention, the Sergeant-at-arms be instructed to have 
removed the railings from the hall, and to place the seats of 
members further back towards the corner of the hall. 

Mr. WEAD offered the following: 

Ordered, That so much of the resolution of the member from 
Clinton, offered yesterday, as provides for limiting the number 
and pay of officers of this Convention, be rescinded. 

In offering this resolution, Mr. W. said, that he was of the 
opinion that the resolution which it proposed to rescind in part, 
had been introduced and passed yesterday without the members 
having had time for consultation, and without their being apprised 
of its effect. That resolution, if he understood it properly, 
limited the number of officers of the Convention, and fixed their 
salaries at a price below the rate provided for in the act of the 
Legislature. True, it allowed the employment of an assistant 
Secretary and an assistant Sergeant-at-arms. — He thought it most 
imprudent thus to limit, by resolution, the officers of the Con- 
vention, when that Convention were the proper judges of what 
officers they required. The Convention would require the 
services of two Sergeants-at-arms; one cannot do all the work, for 
his services would always be required within the hall, while 
another would be required to go elsewhere, and perform duties 
beyond the hall. I object to our granting the Secretary power to 

' Probably John S. Bargar, pastor of First Methodist Episcopal Church of 
Springfield. Inter-State Publishing Company, History of Sangamon County, 
600. 



lo ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

name a deputy when he shall deem it necessary. That right 
belongs to this Convention only. The saving proposed by this 
resolution is but a small matter; the people of the state of Illinois 
do not require such economy — the cutting down of the salaries of 
two small officers. Our object is other than a legislative one; it 
is to revise the constitution of the state of Illinois, and not to fix 
the compensation of her officers. We may place in the constitu- 
tion that the Secretary and Sergeant-at-arms, hereafter to be 
appointed, shall not receive beyond the sums provided in the 
resolution, but can we, by a mere resolution, enact a law? — But 
the resolution does not intend that it shall be incorporated into 
the constitution we came here to revise and adopt; and is it any 
part of our duty to meddle with the pay they shall receive? 

The Legislature might pay them, or fix the sum that they 
should receive at what amount it pleased; it might appropriate 
them nothing if it pleased, for it was a matter entirely with that 
body. 

It had been said that this provision might be placed in the 
constitution, but how? This resolution contemplates no such 
thing; it has reference merely to the officers whom we shall employ, 
and for the payment of whose services the Legislature has already 
made an appropriation. By what reason, right, or justice, then, 
can we fix the amount of their pay? 

Is it economy for members — or do they think that the people 
require such economy — to reduce the pay of officers who will have 
to labor the whole day in the faithful discharge of their duties to 
earn one dollar per day, when we take four for ourselves. The 
saving contemplated would reduce the taxes but little; it is a 
matter the people are not looking at. I hope the Convention will 
not rise until it has reduced the expenses of from over |2oo,ooo 
per annum to something less than one hundred thousand dollars. 
Let them but pursue a course to effect that object, and not com- 
mence on this matter. Let them reduce the tax below sixty-five 
per cent, on personal property; let them reduce the county taxes, 
of which but little is used for county purposes, and let these small 
officers alone. 

He considered that the resolution had been passed without 
being understood by the members of the Convention, and he 



TUESDAY, JUNE 8, 1847 11 

regretted it; for he considered that it frequently took longer to 
undo a wrong action than to defeat or avoid it in the first 
instance. 

Mr. BOND said that he had offered the resolution, and it 
was only because it had been offered by him that he rose to say a 
few words in reply to what had fallen from the member from 
Fulton. That it had not been discussed was very true, but he 
did not think that there was any discussion necessary upon it; it 
bore on its face — in the very words of it was expressed the great 
objects of its introduction — retrenchment and reform. 

We have come here for the purpose of retrenching and re- 
forming the expenses of our government, and he did not think of 
coming here to carry out one thing and do, in fact, another. He 
thought straws showed which way the wind blew. He was for 
economy in all proceedings of the Convention, and would show 
his sincerity if the gentleman would introduce any proposition to 
reduce the pay of members, he would vote for it. The resolution 
had not been intruded upon the Convention: it had been offered 
in good faith, and he believed it ought to meet the approbation of 
the Convention. He asked, who, when the constitution under 
which we now live had been adopted in the first instance, had 
fixed the pay of members? The Legislature telling this Conven- 
tion what to do, is like the preacher telling God what is right. 

He was confident the resolution was not understood: it did 
not interfere with the pay of the Secretary or Sergeant-at-arms — 
they still receive the pay allowed them by the Legislature; but it 
only prescribes what shall be paid to their assistants, whom they 
are authorized to employ when their services are required. He 
had experience in the duties of Secretary of legislative bodies, and 
he was convinced that one person could perform all the duties of 
that office for this Convention. There was not that mass of 
copying, nor that interminable labor to be performed as in the 
Legislature. Also, one Sergeant-at-arms could perform the work 
of that office; but if not, the resolution allowed him to employ an 
assistant, at one dollar per day — and plenty could be procured 
to do the work at that rate; even here they could be procured, as 
well as by searching from the southern border to the most northern 
counties for men, who were to be brought here to fill these offices 



12 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

especially reserved for them. No fires were to [be] built; various other 
duties usually performed by the Sergeant-at-arms could be dis- 
pensed with. Nor would that officer have to go round looking 
up the members of the Convention, as was often the case in the 
Legislature. He hoped the gentleman from Fulton would aid in 
reforming the constitutional expenses of the government. Let 
him come forward with his proposition to lower the salaries of all, 
and he (Mr. B.) would vote as low as the gentleman from Fulton 
dare. 

He would like to reply to some of the logic of the gentleman 
from Jefferson (Mr. Scates,) if he really knew what kind of logic 
it was that he had used yesterday. He (Mr. B.) had read none, 
and he was disposed to inquire of Mr. S. what kind he had read. 
He had understood the gentleman from Jefferson to say that we 
could reduce the pay of the members, but not of the officers of the 
Convention. 

Mr. SCATES. I did not say that we could reduce the pay 
of the members; the gentleman did not understand me. 

Mr. BOND resumed, by stating that he had misunderstood 
the gentleman. He had occupied more time than he had intended 
when he commenced. The resolution was intended only to govern 
the present officers of the Convention; and a more proper time 
would arrive for the discussion. A committee had been appointed 
to prepare and report rules and regulations for the Convention, 
and they will no doubt report what officers are necessary. When 
they did so, then would be the proper time for the discussion of this 
question. 

Mr. MINSHALL asked, if the resolution to rescind was in 
order. Would not the proper way be to move to reconsider? 

The CHAIR ruled that the resolution to rescind was in order. 

Mr. WEAD said, that it had been insinuated in the remarks of 
the gentleman that he had argued that this resolution had been 
intruded upon the Convention. He had said no such thing; nor 
would any language used by him justify such a construction. He 
had said, however, that it had been passed without the members 
having had time for reflection. He could not see any reason why 
the Convention should not rescind the resolution of yesterday. 
We had been sent here for the purpose of retrenchment and reform 



TUESDAY, JUNE 8, 1847 13 

of the evils of the old constitution. Was one of the evils of that 
constitution an allowance of four dollars to our Sergeant-at-arms? 
We save, by this resolution, four dollars a day in the pay of 
Secretary and Sergeant-at-arms. Did the people require this of 
us, he would vote for it; but he was satisfied that they were willing 
that we should allow them liberally for their services. Mr. W. 
was as willing as Mr. B. to reduce the county expenses by every 
means in their power, from over $650,000 to less than $300,000. 

He was not familiar with the duties of Secretary, but judging 
from the vast amount of business yesterday, he considered that 
it was impossible for one to do it alone. Gentlemen should 
remember that this is the largest body ever convened in Illinois, 
and that more officers were required than in any other that has 
met before.— He considered the doctrine, that we had a right to 
fix the pay of members or officers otherwise than as directed by 
the act of the Legislature, as perfectly preposterous. That we 
had the right to regulate future officers' salary, by engrafting a 
direction in the constitution, was perfectly right, but to regulate 
their pay by a simple resolution of the Convention was out of the 
question. 

Mr. BOND read a portion of Mr. Scates' remarks, of yester- 
day, as reported in the Register, as going to establish that he was 
not alone in his understanding of Mr. S.'s remarks; to which 

Mr. SCATES briefly replied. 

Mr. LOGAN said there was nothing in the question itself, as 
to what pay should be allowed the Secretary and Sergeant-at-arms 
that was worthy of the consumption of the time of the Convention; 
but there was the same principle in it which affected a large class 
of other questions of more importance, and which should be settled. 

Gentlemen, he had observed, in his experience, were never able 
to find the starting point where retrenchment should commence. 
All economy, he always found, was commenced in small matters. 
You may look around in vain for a large one; whenever you raise 
your arm to strike, why the answer comes, "that is a small matter, 
let it alone." We must make one strong blow. Now is the time. 
The subject is not, it is true, a large one, but we must commence. 
I am in favor of commencing now, because of the peculiar circum- 
stances in which the people of Illinois are situated. I am in favor 



14 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

of meeting that situation and carrying the work of retrenchment 
throughout all its ramifications. Our state is loaded with a heavy 
debt, under which the people and their property are groaning. 
The people call on us to save, in the expenses of their government, 
not hundreds, but thousands. Speak not to them of liberality 
till our state is in different circumstances. Liberality ceases to 
be a virtue when it postpones justice! Whenever we are obliged 
to lay a tax upon the country too heavy for the proper support of 
the government of that country, I am for striking at the root of 
all unnecessary salaries — reducing them. An enormous debt is 
overhanging us. We are taxed to the full measure which the 
people can endure. We must pay the large debt we owe, and 
which is fast becoming a burden not only upon us, but will be on 
those who shall follow us. Our creditors are demanding payment 
of our debts; can we talk of liberality? Liberality is incompatible 
with the present situation of the country. Were the whole people 
gathered here, they would have no right to give salaries beyond 
what is strictly necessary. I am for saving every dollar that can 
be saved. It is necessary that proper officers should be chosen 
and paid to perform the functions of government; and I am willing 
to pay in every department only just sufficient to procure the 
services of such men. It is not proposed to reduce the pay of the 
principal secretary, and he is allowed to employ an assistant when 
his services are necessary. One will be sufficient, another would 
be supernumary [sic]. At the commencement there was of course 
a greater press of business — of resolutions; that is all over. Here- 
after we will have committees to prepare the business. Discus- 
sions upon the great questions will commence and occupy the 
greater part of the time. The question of a bank will come up 
and be discussed; there will be no bills, no petitions, no local 
legislation. We will have but little use of the Secretary, and less 
of his assistant. The resolution contemplates the employment 
of an able-bodied assistant and two boys — what do you want with 
more of them? Two boys can receive the propositions of 162 
members as fast as they can be presented. We should give 
salaries only sufficient to procure the services. Can we procure 
them at the prices contained, in the resolution? My word for it 
you can. I want this to be a precedent for everything else. 



TUESDAY, JUNE 8, 1847 15 

There is a section in the constitution of Vermont, which sets forth 
that every man should have some profession and mode of life, 
and should do everything in his power to aid the government; 
that when his assistance to the government works injury to him 
in his business, he should be remunerated; but when the salaries 
of officers are used as a source of profit, that then they should be 
cut down and reduced. If this is a correct principle it should 
govern us. Are not these offices sought for profit? — The very 
fact of the applicants seeking and desiring them proves it, not to 
speak of their electioneering. I could scarcely get along the street 
with the constant applications, and I cannot comprehend how 
my democratic friends survive it at all. If we can get persons to 
do the work, that is evidence that the prices are high enough. If 
we cannot, why then we can raise them. 

My constituents desire the most rigid economy in all things, 
which will enable them to pay off their just debts. I am not for 
stopping here, but for continuing it for all time to come, or until 
we are relieved from debt. — Now is the time. Let us begin and 
apply the principle to ourselves and our officers; let it operate 
now. — There is no use in procrastinating. We have been insolvent 
long enough; we have delayed payment of our just debts long 
enough. Apply all you can save to the liquidation of the state 
debt. 

The next question was the power of this Convention. An 
oath to support the constitution of the United States had been 
proposed and taken, because we can do nothing in contravention 
of that instrument, and because there was no other power to limit 
us. Where is the limitation of the power of this Convention over 
the treasury? Point it out. 

Mr. WEAD explained. 

Mr. LOGAN resumed. It was said yesterday that we could 
draw no money from the treasury because the constitution pointed 
out the manner in which it should be done. I differ in opinion on 
this matter. We have the power to prescribe the powers and 
duties and salaries of all officers. Can we not fix in the constitu- 
tion that money shall be paid from the treasury only on general 
principles? The Legislature has appropriated the money to pay 
us and our officers; to be paid on the certificate of the President. 



1 6 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Can we not say that our officers shall not draw the money? Can 
we not, by resolution, control the certificate of the President? 
Have we no power, except what is expressed in the act? Does 
that give us the power to make rules and regulations for our 
government? It does not, yet we have appointed a committee 
to report such rules, and we will adopt them. 

This resolution is right in itself. It advertises the men em- 
ployed what they shall receive. If we are sincere in our professions 
of economy, don't let us differ as to the mode, the how, or where, 
but let us preserve the principle, and carry it out at all times. 
Let the gentleman who proposes to rescind propose his plan to 
economize, and I shall not be found wanting. Is there anything 
said in the act that we shall not amend the constitution by a 
resolution? Not a word. There are many things to be done in 
this constitution which are but temporary provisions. In our 
present constitution, the judges of the supreme court were to 
receive $i,ooo a year, for a certain time, payable quarterly. The 
Convention that formed that constitution made this appropria- 
tion, and no Legislature could repeal it. We may district the state 
for the next Legislature, and make many other alterations of a 
temporary character. I don't care for the form — for the mere 
saving of a few dollars; but I contend for it as a principle, and 
intend it as a precedent. But when the state is in debt, and 
there are, in those countries now visited by famine, many widows 
and orphans who hold our bonds, and are undergoing the utmost 
privations because the interest of our debt is not paid, I say 
again, this is not time for liberality. 

Mr. BALLINGALL moved that the Convention adjourn till 
the afternoon, at 3 o'clock. Carried. 

AFTERNOON 

Mr. HARVEY moved to strike out all after the word 
"resolved," in the motion of Mr. Wead, and insert "that the 
members and officers of this Convention shall receive the sum of 
I2.50 per day, each." 

Mr. PALMER of Marshall moved to amend the proposed 
amendment, by striking out the words "and fifty cents." 

Mr. DEMENT rose to offer an amendment: but the Chair 



TUESDAY, JUNE 8, 1847 17 

ruled it out of order, there being an amendment to an amendment 
pending. He then stated that he did not believe, nor did he 
think any other member believed, that any resolution of this 
body could prevent the members, or such of them as would 
demand it, from receiving the sum of four dollars per day — as 
fixed by the Legislature. He denied the position assumed by the 
gentleman from Sangamon (Mr. Logan,) that the acts of this 
Convention would be paramount to any law of the land, until it 
had been approved and ratified by the people in the manner pre- 
scribed by the law. In case, asked Mr. D., we did make an 
enactment, where would be its power or its force, or its binding 
obligation on any one, if the constitution we shall adopt is rejected 
by the people? It appeared to him that the powers of this 
Convention had been narrowed down to a mere power to propose 
amendments, or a substitute for the present constitution of the 
state; and what we may do may pass as a dead letter from our 
hands, and be received with the contempt of the whole people. 

He had heard much talk about economy; and the gentlemen 
who had made speeches on that subject might have spoken in all 
sincerity, or it might be to add to their already well established 
reputations for eloquence and speech-making. 

He was of opinion that the Convention could appropriate no 
money, unless the clause making the appropriation is made a 
component part of the constitution; nor could the money thus 
appropriated be drawn from the treasury until the constitution 
containing the appropriation had been approved and ratified by 
the people. It was proposed by this resolution to pay the Secre- 
tary four dollars per day, under the law, and the assistant but 
two dollars. 

He was satisfied that we could not alter the salaries of our 
officers from the sum fixed by the Legislature, without making 
that resolution, or proposition containing this alteration, a com- 
ponent part of the constitution, and submitting it to the people 
for their ratification. Our mere enactment has no force whatever. 
— Our constitution, if we can dignify it by such a name, will not 
be obligatory, in the least, on any one here or in the state, until it 
shall have been approved by the people. And he begged members 
not to encumber that instrument, which they had convened here 



1 8 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

to frame, with these small and trifling sections, all of which would 
endanger the adoption of the constitution. He said, that upon 
all of the great and important subjects which would engage the 
deliberations of that body, they were familiar with the feelings, 
sentiments, and opinions of their constituents, and were ready 
and prepared to vote upon them; but upon these little questions, 
which had never been the subject of thought among the people, 
the members of the Convention could not say what were the 
sentiments of their constituents; and by voting for their incorpora- 
tion with the constitution, they endangered its adoption. Had 
we not, then, better go home and leave these light and trivial 
matters for future legislation, and not have these appendages, 
upon which we know nothing of the sentiment of the people? 

Mr. D. then read, as a part of his speech, the proposed amend- 
ment that had been ruled out of order; it was to the effect that the 
members should contribute a portion of their pay, for the purpose 
of employing and paying the Secretary and Sergeant-at-arms at 
the rate of four dollars per day. He said there were one hundred 
and sixty-two members present, who were drawing four dollars 
per day, and employed in a discussion upon the question whether 
our door-keeper shall receive two or four dollars a day, while that 
very discussion was a tax of two hundred dollars an hour upon 
the state. The gentlemen, in their zeal for economy, strike at the 
pay of these petty officers, who have no interest or responsibility 
other than to perform their duty and receive their pay; yet it 
was said that the mere reduction of their pay was to accomplish 
wonders — relieve the state from all debt, feed the starving suffer- 
ers in Ireland, and many other like brilliant acts. 

Now, he would remind them that, by dispensing with half an 
hour's debate upon this question, enough would be saved to pay 
the whole additional expense. The speeches of the gentlemen — 
and he would not be understood as meaning to say they were not 
well worth the money — would, then, if dispensed with, pay the 
whole expenses. 

He then proposed that the members should come forward and 
voluntarily surrender a respective share of their own pay, and 
give it to the door-keeper. But in case they were to have speeches 
he was willing to stake their own pay on the fact whether our 



TUESDAY, JUNE 8, 1847 19 

actions meet the approval of the people; and was willing, if th 
people do not accept the work of this Convention, and return the 
constitution on our hands, that we take it, and not receive any 
other payment for our services. 

This would show our sincerity in speaking so much of economy. 
He hoped, therefore, that they would elect these officers, and a 
printer, and complete the organization of the Convention, and 
proceed with the business. Speech-making cost |ioo every thirty 
minutes; let us organize without further debate, and for the future 
economize both time and money. 

Mr. HAYES moved the previous question. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess asked if the previous question 
was in order? We had adopted no rules. 

The CHAIR said it was in order. 

Mr. WILLIAMS rose to debate the propriety of taking the 
previous question. 

Mr. BALLINGALL called to order; and a discussion ensued 
as to Mr. Williams* right to proceed. 

The CHAIR decided in his favor. 

Mr. W. said, that he thought, when he came here today, we 
were ready to proceed with the business; that we were sufficiently 
organized to have started other important questions. But there 
were important questions involved in the present one, which he 
thought should be discussed now and at once. They would have 
to be settled at some time. 

Messrs. Palmer of Macoupin, Thomas, Loudon, and Logan 
continued the discussion on the propriety of taking the main 
question, a more detailed report of whose remarks we regret our 
inability, from want of room, to give in our present number. 

Mr. HAYES then withdrew his call. 

Mr. DAVIS of Bond promised, as he desired to present a few 
remarks, to do as others had done — to speak of everything else 
save the resolution before them. He did not think the Convention 
had the power or right to appropriate money from the treasury. 
The present constitution of the state, which was the supreme law 
of the land, gives the Legislature the power to call a Convention, 
and under that constitutional power this Convention had been 



20 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

called.' He apprehended that if the Convention had the power to 
appropriate money in one case, they had the same power to do so 
in all. The constitution directs the manner in which money shall 
be appropriated; that constitution, and every law under it, is yet 
in full force. Suppose we make an appropriation and attach it to 
the constitution we shall frame, and that constitution is rejected 
by the people, what becomes of the appropriation? He under- 
stood the Legislature had power to call a Convention, and they 
had done so, and made provisions for its comfort and convenience 
by law. — The constitution says, "no money shall be appropriated 
out of the treasury except by law." Can we ascend higher than 
the constitution? If we can, I ask for the book, for the law 
and the precedent. I come here to effect the election of judges 
by the people, limiting the sessions of the Legislature to once in 
four years, and then for sixty days only, and for settling their 
per diem. I can't say we will do so, nor that the people will 
ratify what we really will propose to them. He asked again 
where was the authority for this Convention to make laws, or 
what act of theirs would be binding unless ratified by the people? 
When we formed our present constitution we were a territory, 
and the instances of appropriation spoken of by the gentleman 
from Sangamon were embodied in the constitution, and pre- 
sumed an adoption thereof by the people. 

Mr. PALMER of Marshall, after some preliminary remarks, 
said he could not think any gentleman would deny the right of the 
members, under the present embarrassed state of affairs, to take 
but two dollars a day; and that our officers, who will be fully as 
patriotic, will follow our example and give their services for the 
same amount of compensation. He hoped the members would 
reduce their own pay. They could not reduce the pay of their 
officers, of the judges and all others, and then go home to their 
constituents with four dollars a day in their pockets. He had 
brought money with him to pay his board and all other expenses, 
and was willing to take but the two dollars. He was old, but 
hoped not to be laid in his grave till all our debts had been paid. 

Mr. P. followed the question at some length, but we not having 
room, must close our report of his speech for the present. 

' See correction made by Davis in his speech on Monday, June 14, pp. 75-76. 



TUESDAY, JUNE 8, 1847 21 

The previous question was again moved, but withdrawn at 
the request of 

Mr. SCATES, who moved to lay the whole matter on the table, 
to enable the committee on Rules to report; which was agreed to. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Madison, from the committee for that 
purpose, reported a series of rules and regulations for the govern- 
ment of the Convention; which were read and adopted. 

Mr. SERVANT moved that 300 copies of the rules just 
adopted be printed. 

Mr. SCATES advocated a smaller number, but suggested that 
we had not yet chosen a printer, and therefore moved to lay the 
motion to print on the table. Carried — yeas 73, nays 62. 

Mr. WILLIAMS, in order to give the President time to 
appoint the committees moved that the Convention adjourn till 
to-morrow, at 10 a. m. Carried — yeas 79, nays 61. 



III. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9, 1847 

Prayer by Rev. Mr. Bergen.* 

Messrs. Hurlbut and Choate, delegates to the Convention, 
appeared this morning, presented their credentials, and were 
qualified. 

The Secretary then read the journal. 

Mr. DEMENT moved to admit within the bar of the Conven- 
tion the Governor of the State, Secretary of State, and Judges of 
the United States and State Courts. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess moved to amend by adding 
"and all ex-officers of the state." 

Mr. KNOWLTON moved to add "and all officers and soldiers 
just returned from the Mexican war." 

Mr. DAVIS of McLean moved to add "and all members of 
Congress." 

Mr. WHITNEY moved to lay the resolution and amendments 
on the table. Carried. 

*Rev. John G. Bergen: born November 27, 1790, at Hightstown, Middle- 
sex County, New Jersey; of Norwegian and Scotch descent; preliminary 
education at academies in Cranberry and Baskin Ridge; 1807, graduated from 
Princeton; March, 1810- — September, 1812, tutor in Princeton; December, 
1812, ordained as Presbyterian minister; December, 1812 — September 10, 
1828, pastor at Madison, New Jersey; September 22, 1828, left for Illinois, 
sent by the Home Board of the American Missionary Association; November, 
1828, arrived in Springfield; December, 1828^December, 1848, first regular 
pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Springfield ; organized Second Presby- 
terian Church of Springfield, and a number of additional churches; December, 
1848, resigned as pastor, devoting himself to writing for the press over the 
signature of "Old Man of the Prairies" and to missionary effort among feeble 
churches; several times commissioner to the general assembly of the Presby- 
terian church ; assisted in forming first presbytery and first synod in the state ; 
first moderator of each, and first moderator of the tmited synod; for many 
years a director of the Theological Seminary of the Northwest at Chicago; 
1854, given degree of D. D. by Centre College, Danville, Kentucky; died 
January 17, 1872. 

Bateman and Selby, Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois; History of 
Sangamon County, 2: 862, 866; Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sanga- 
mon County, 114-116; Inter-State Pubhshing Company, History of Sangamon 
County, 515-519; Chapman Brothers, Portrait and Biographical Album o' 
Sangamon County, 294, 778. 

22 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9, 1847 23 

Mr. SINGLETON offered a resolution stating the powers of 
the Convention to be limited. 

Mr. ARCHER offered the following amendment: 

"Resolved, That this Convention has assembled for the purpose 
of revising, altering, or amending the constitution of this state, 
and that the powers and duties of said Convention are limited, 
after its proper organization, to such objects only. 

"Resolved, That, with a view of entering upon the discharge of 
the duties assigned to said Convention, we now proceed to the 
election of an assistant Secretary and assistant door-keeper and 
printer, any resolution heretofore passed to the contrary notwith- 
standing." 

In offering the above, Mr. A. said, that he did so with a view 
of presenting his opinions upon the matter that had occupied the 
Convention for the past day or two. — In so doing he was very 
anxious to pay all respect to the opinions and views of those with 
whom he differed, and without reflecting in the least upon their 
motives or views. He held true economy to consist, in some 
measure, in the employment of the means sufficient to accomplish 
the end. 

The act of the Legislature has provided officers for this Con- 
vention, to enable us to carry out the objects for which we have 
convened. He thought another Secretary and Sergeant-at-arms 
necessary; and if the Convention, from the want of either one of 
these officers, were detained a single day beyond the time they 
would otherwise have concluded their business, the expense 
attendant on that delay would be far more than the additional 
expense of these officers. He was of opinion that the powers 
of the Convention were expressed correctly in his amendment to 
the resolution of the gentleman from Brown. — The question of 
economy in the pay of the officers of the Convention, or of the 
members thereof, formed no subject in the canvass in the county 
which he (Mr. A.) had the honor, in part, to represent. He con- 
tended that the Convention had no legislative powers; that in 
the way of economy he would go as far as any other in retrenching 
the expenses of the state of Illinois. The original resolution sub- 
mitted whether there should be a Convention, and the act calling 
the Convention contemplated no such purpose as that we were to 



24 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

have legislative powers; and none other than to alter and revise 
the constitution. Mr. A. would go with any of them in putting 
down to the lowest rates, that would command talent, the salaries 
of all officers. 

Mr. McCALLEN offered the following as an amendment to 
the amendment: Strike out "printer," and insert, "that the 
Secretary be instructed to receive sealed proposals at his desk, 
until lo o'clock, a. m., to-n;orrow, for the printing for this Conven- 
tion; and that the President proceed at that hour to open said 
proposals, and award the printing to the lowest responsible bidder." 

Mr. SCATES moved to lay the whole subject on the table. 

Mr. CONSTABLE appealed to him to withdraw his motion. 

Mr. SCATES declined. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess hoped that it would be with- 
drawn, and that the vote by which the rules had been adopted 
would be reconsidered. 

The vote was then taken on laying the subject on the table, 
and decided in the affirmative — yeas 72, nays 67. 

Mr. DAVIS of Bond submitted some amendments to the rules; 
to which 

Mr. LOGAN offered an amendment. 

Mr. PRATT offered an amendment to the amendment. 

Mr. WEAD moved to lay the resolution and amendments on 
the table; which was carried. 

Mr. ROBBINS offered two resolutions in relation to the number 
and selection of the standing and select committees, and advocated 
their adoption. 

Mr. DEMENT opposed the resolutions. 

Mr. WEAD moved to lay them on the table, and print; after- 
wards withdrew the motion to print, and the resolutions were laid 
on the table. 

Mr. ARMSTRONG offered a resolution in relation to addi- 
tional committees to be appointed. Laid on the table. 

Mr. DEMENT moved to take up the resolutions offered by 
Mr. Singleton, and the amendment; and, after debate, they were 
taken up. 

Mr. BROCKMAN advocated the adoption of the amendment 
of the gentleman from Pike to the resolution of the gentleman 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9, 1847 25 

from Brown. He denied that the Convention had any legislative 
powers; nor any power save that expressly granted by the Legis- 
lature. The Legislature had defined the pay for our officers, and 
we had no power to change it. He was for retrenchment when- 
ever that subject came properly before them. He hoped they 
would immediately elect a secretary, a sergeant-at-arms, and a 
printer, which officers were necessary. He advocated a full and 
immediate organization of the Convention, and that it should at 
once proceed to public business. 

Mr. SINGLETON said, that he had offered the resolution in 
order to bring before the Convention the true question — its 
powers. He thought the power of a Convention was merely to 
propose alterations and amendments to the constitution, and that 
the people had the right and the power to make the changes. 
We had no power to change the law, but we had the power to 
propose the change, and the people to make the change. — It was 
true that, to some extent, the people are here in their sovereign 
capacity, but it was only to inquire whether they should change 
their law. The Legislature is just as sovereign as this Convention. 
This body is clearly bound by the act of the Legislature. The 
people are represented in that body as much, if not more, in their 
sovereign capacity as in this. The people never intended these 
matters relative to the compensation of officers should come 
before us. There was no power by which men are obliged to take 
the four dollars per day, when they think proper to take less. He 
believed the Convention wanted an assistant secretary and another 
sergeant-at-arms, and would vote for their election, and was 
willing to give them the pay provided by law. He had offered 
the resolution for the purpose of bringing the true question before 
the Convention. If there had been no provision in the act of the 
Legislature for the pay of the members, the number and salary of 
its officers; if these matters had not been settled for us by the 
Legislature, he would then be able to discover the propriety of the 
discussion; but as all had been done by that body, he could 
see no propriety in it. As to the pay of the members, he was 
determined to take the four dollars a day, and no less; and would 
not be afraid to go before his constituents and tell them he had 
done so. 



26 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

On motion of Mr. CONSTABLE, the amendment proposed 
by Mr. McCallen was laid on the table — yeas 87, nays 56. 

The question recurring on Mr. Archer's amendment; 

Mr. LOGAN said, that he was inclined to take the vote 
just had as decisive of the intention of the Convention to choose 
the officers, and upon that subject would say no more. But the 
resolution offered by the gentleman from Brown presents a 
principle which he considered a heresy in politics, and as there 
were two propositions before them, he preferred the amendment 
of the gentleman from Pike. If the Convention were to say that 
it was bound to do as bid by the Legislature, it would establish a 
most dangerous precedent; and if they were obliged to follow the 
direction of the Legislature in any one case, they are bound to do 
so in all. — The constitution says a Convention may be called "to 
amend, alter, and revise" — not to propose amendments; alter- 
ations, and revisions. If the Legislature be right in saying the 
Convention has only the right to propose a constitution, they have 
the right to say what amendments, alterations, &c., shall be made. 
He considered it wrong in principle and bad as a precedent. If 
either of the propositions were to be passed, he preferred that of 
the gentleman from Pike. 

Mr. SINGLETON contended that the Legislature had the 
power to regulate, to some extent, the manner in which the 
Convention should be organized, and to direct its government in 
all things that do not go to the proposed changes in the constitu- 
tion. The present constitution gives the Legislature power to 
call a Convention, and the Legislature has provided for that call, 
and says we must come here, not with power to make changes, 
but to propose changes to be acted on by the people. They have 
no right to say to us what changes shall be made, but state in 
what manner they shall be made. 

By the constitution, the legislative powers of the state are 
described to be vested in a House of Representatives and a 
Senate, who, together, shall constitute a General Assembly. 
Their powers are not limited, but they may exercise any power 
not expressly limited by the constitution of the state, the consti- 
tution of the United States, a law of Congress, or a treaty. Had 
they a right to say that the changes proposed by this Convention 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9, 1847 27 

should be submitted to the people? If they had no right, I want 
a direct vote on the matter. If they had, I am bound by what 
they have done. 

This Convention has those necessary, natural, inherent powers 
of self-protection that all deliberative bodies possess; no other 
power but what is derived from the Legislature, save the power 
of self-defence. 

Mr. PETERS said, that he had and would continue to vote 
against any and every proposition which would recognize any 
restriction of the powers of this Convention. We are here the 
sovereignty of the state. We are what the people of the state 
would be if they were congregated here in one mass meeting. We 
are what Louis XIV said he was — "We are the state." We can 
trample the constitution under our feet as waste paper, and no 
one can call us to an account save the people. A resolution had 
been passed by the Legislature presenting to the people the 
question of a Convention or not. If a majority of the people chose 
a Convention, then the law directed the Legislature to call that 
Convention, and then its functions ceased. If they had named no 
officers in their act, could not this Convention have selected as 
many as they pleased ? If they had said we should have no officer 
but a President, could we not have gone on and elected a secretary 
and what officers we thought necessary? We can change any 
organic law of this state that we please. My proposition is that 
we have the power to adopt a constitution which, from the day of 
its passage by this body, will be the supreme organic law of this 
state, without any reference to the people. However, such a 
course as that might not be advisable. — But there are many things 
which I could not refer to the people, for instance, the council of 
revision, and that because we know the sentiments of the people 
on them already. 

I am for economy. But I make no speeches on the subject 
for home consumption. I am for allowing the members of this 
body but two dollars a day. 

Here the Convention adjourned til[l] 2, p. m. 



28 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

AFTERNOON 

Mr. DAVIS of Massac commenced by taking ground against 
the superiority of the powers of the Convention as against the 
enactment of the Legislature — the law-making power, established 
and recognized by the supreme organic law of the state yet in 
force. He reviewed the history of the act of the Legislature pro- 
viding for a call of this Convention, and argued that it was both 
constitutional and proper. As to economy — though in favor of 
it — he scorned to consume the time of the house, so valuable, by 
making speeches about it. He had voted to lay the proposition — 
to let the printing out — on the table, because, in his opinion, they 
had convened there for nobler ends than debating about such 
trifles; they had convened to amend the organic law of the state, 
so that it would conduce to their prosperity and happiness. He 
understood the provision in the present constitution, relative to 
the salaries of judges, very differently from the gentleman from 
Sangamon. — The provision was made in the constitution that 
they should receive a certain salary, but the Legislature of 1819 
made the appropriation whereby the pay, thus fixed and estab- 
lished in the constitution, could be drawn from the treasury. 
And it was by virtue of their act, and not of the provision in the 
constitution, that the money was paid out. That very same 
Legislature, sir, made an appropriation to pay the members of 
the Convention that framed the constitution; they fixed it at 
four dollars a day. The officers and others were also paid by the 
Legislature, who made the appropriation for them all. Not a 
man in that convention of 1818, nor out of it, ever understood 
that they could draw any money under the provisions of the con- 
stitution, until the Legislature had made the necessary appro- 
priation. He regretted, and it was universally regretted, that a 
gentleman gifted with such powers, and from whose experience 
and ability so much was justly expected, whose eminent talents 
should lead them and aid the Convention in its important duties, 
should have suffered himself to be led off into a discussion of 
subjects so foreign to the matter before the Convention. He 
alluded to the gentleman from Sangamon. 

The gentleman who had made the most strenuous and potent 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9, 1847 29 

argument against the law of this Legislature was, if he had not 
been greatly misinformed, in the last General Assembly, one of 
its foremost and ablest supporters. If that law is wrong now, it 
was wrong then; and why did he support it then? He (Mr. D.) 
took a different view of this matter than that of gentlemen who, 
from friends and advocates of the law, had become its denouncers. 
Mr. SCATES offered an amendment — that the Convention 
should proceed to the election of a printer, assistant secretary, 
and door-keeper. He said this discussion had taken a wide range — 
first it was the employment of a door-keeper, then the question 
of retrenchment, then the powers of the Convention. He wished, 
however, as all had the same object — economy — in view, that 
they could see the means to accomplish it in the same light. 
There might be an economy of time as well as money. The 
question originally was to rescind; from which sprang the question 
of the powers of the Convention, and economy — questions which 
did not belong to the original question. While gentlemen were 
discussing this matter, they had made declarations and pledged 
themselves to carry out the principle of economy in all things that 
should come before the Convention. When this came about he 
expected to be in the first rank; none should go higher and none 
lower in the scale of economy than he. He advised, then, an 
organization of the Convention as soon as it could be affected, 
though he did not desire to cut off any gentleman who might wish 
to discuss this matter. He questioned, doubted, and denied the 
power of the members to bind themselves, or their ofiicers, or 
officers of the government, by any simple resolution of the body; 
because, if not embodied in the constitution, it was not and could 
not be a law — therefore, it was not obligatory. 

[We have no legislative powers. Resolutions appropriating 
money by dollars and half dollars is the administration of gov- 
ernment which we have no power to do. 

Suppose we say in our constitution that a certain amount of 
money shall be paid our members and officers for their services, 
will it be any more than an inoperative, inchoate act, until our acts 
shall be confirmed by the people? Let the President of this Con- 
vention issue certificates to these men and boys for their services, 



30 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

will the Auditor, though he may have our resolution on his table, 
pay any attention to it, or refuse to pay what the law of the state 
directs? What an aspect would we present if these boys, receiv- 
ing certificates under an appropriation made by this Convention, 
and the chief officer of the State obeying the behests of the law, 
and setting at defiance the supreme constitution-making power, 
refuse to pay them but in the manner directed by the act of the 
Legislature! What remedy? It is true you might invoke the 
power of the courts of justice, obtain a mandamus to compel him, 
&c. 

Here we are — one hundred and sixty-two members, gravely 
driving half dollar bargains with messengers and boys. To at- 
tempt to undo the act of the Legislature by our resolution is im- 
possible. — -We might as well go back and overhaul all legislation 
had under the constitution, as this very law. The gentlemen are 
disposed to make the compensation of these offices so low as to 
take away the inducement to seek the office. He was disposed 
to go as far as any; but he thought that the Convention could not 
fix the price so low but that men will seek it. Men sometimes 
seek office for the honor of it. The pay of the soldiers in the army 
is but $io per month — and the post is not a very desirable one at 
that, yet we have witnessed the scramble that has taken place to 
get in the army; and there has been as much anxiety to get into 
the ranks as to get into the offices of this Convention. He hoped 
the Convention would now elect these officers and complete their 
organization. 

He regretted that so much time had been spent in demagog- 
ueism [sic]; in making speeches for Buncome; in making speeches, 
for effect upon the constituents of members and others, about 
economy. In introducing ridiculous resolutions for this purpose, 
he had witnessed the same at almost every session of the Legisla- 
ture, and he asked why had they been introduced here? It had 
been shown that these speeches about economy of cutting down 
the Door-keeper's pay cost more than would pay all the officers 
of the Convention for their services. — It was useless to continue 
thus, at an expense of over six hundred dollars a day — -of one hun- 
dred an hour — we should only have such discussion as would aid 
us in our schemes of retrenchment, as much as we pay for it. 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9, 1847 31 

He who first threw this gauntlet is responsible; on his head 
rests the extravagance who first introduced this useless matter. 
This is not the place to make a flourish — nor is it a place for ab- 
stractions like those on your desk. I cannot subscribe to them; 
they are but abstractions, why introduce and discuss them here ?]^ 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess said, that as there was some 
disposition to close the discussion, he would take the present 
opportunity of expressing his views in relation to the matter under 
discussion before the Convention, and he deemed that he was not 
doing more than he had a right to do. Those who complained so 
much of the great consumption of time, its cost and its waste, 
should remember that they had occupied their full share of the 
time that had been consumed in making speeches themselves. 
They should remember that there were many here who had never 
before been members of a deliberative body — he was one of them — 
and who were unacquainted with many things that were more 
familiar to others. He had come here to receive information on 
many points, and was in favor of a free and full discussion of every 
subject matter that came before them. — Others had come with 
written constitutions in their pockets, which, if the Convention 
would adopt, as no doubt the gentlemen desired it would, they 
might go home at once, and make great economy of time. 

He thought it his privilege, though one of the humblest 
members of the body, to express his views upon every subject 
that he deemed necessary to discuss; and the exercise of that 
privilege, which is guarantied to every delegate, would not 
be influenced by the time it would consume. He should pursue 
that course which his conscience dictated, regardless of what it 
might cost, or the time it might occupy. If he did not do so, he 
would not be true to the trust confided in him. 

He considered that every subject should be properly under- 
stood before they came to any conclusion; he was opposed to the 
hot haste that some were desirous to follow. 

Gentlemen had made statements in this Convention, had 
made speeches that would be spread before the people, which 

* The conclusion of Scates' speech, which was omitted from the tri- weekly 
Illinois State Register, has been taken from the weekly of July 11. 



32 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

might lead to prejudicial results as to other delegates in that body. 
He was unwilling that this should be, unless along with them we 
spread the views of those who happened to differ with those 
gentlemen. 

He did not believe in the omnipotence of this body. It was 
necessary, before we could come here, that there should be some 
legislation; that the Legislature should arrange those matters 
which should be done before we could convene. Could the people 
— the entire people — meet here at Springfield, the seat of govern- 
ment, and, without the previous action of the Legislature pre- 
scribed by the constitution, proceed to adopt the constitution? 

No, sir, they could not. We meet here by the authority of a 
supreme power, which has given vitality to this Convention? 
Are not the regulations of that supreme power binding and im- 
perative on us? Suppose a case: Let a vacancy occur in this 
Convention — how would it be filled? Could this Convention pass 
a law setting a day for the election of another to fill the vacancy? 
I hardly think any delegate would say it could. I apprehend it 
is not in our power to do any such thing. We must abide by the 
law which has called us here for a particular purpose. During 
the canvass for the members of this Convention, the tree of public 
sentiment has been shaken, and the fruits are now collected in 
this hall, and I am in favor of selecting the good and sound of 
them, and of engrafting them on the constitutional stock. The 
Convention of the state of New York sat for four months, and 
complained that they had not sufficient time to discharge their 
duties; and I suppose no gentleman will dispute that there was 
as much talent in that Convention as in this. Yet the Legislature 
that called them together had limited the time of their sitting to 
four months, and they, proclaiming that they had not sufficient 
time to perform the duties assigned them, adhered to and obeyed 
that law strictly, as imperative upon them. We are sitting here 
making an organic law for ourselves and for our children; the 
duty is most important, and I am opposed to hasty action.— I 
want to deliberate, to reflect — time to have the aid of others' 
experience and views to aid me. I desire all the aid and advantage 
to be derived from a full and free interchange of sentiment of 
every delegate of this Convention. 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9, 1847 33 

It has been said that the officers could be appointed by reso- 
lution, and such a resolution had been adopted the first day of 
this Convention. I have heard gentlemen of this Convention, 
who were members of the very Legislature that passed this law, 
and who voted for it, now come forward and denounce the law as 
inoperative, and declare we are not bound by it. They go 
further, and declare the Convention is above all law. Strange, 
strange, that gentlemen in the Legislature should vote for a law, 
and now get up here and denounce it, declaring that they had no 
power to pass it. 

Mr. LOGAN. The gentleman will allow me to say that this 
law was passed before the Legislature had fixed the pay of its 
members, and when I voted for it I had no idea the Legislature 
would fix that pay at ^4 a day. 

Mr. CAMPBELL. Then I would ask the gentleman if he did 
not vote for the law which allowed members their present per diem? 

Mr. LOGAN. No, sir. I asked to be excused from voting. 
I had motives of delicacy to induce me to do so, which I need not 
repeat. I did not vote at all. 

Mr. CAMPBELL. Well, then, the gentleman says he did 
not vote against the bill, for reasons best known to himself. 

Mr. LOGAN. I hardly think the gentleman desires to mis- 
represent me. 

Mr. CAMPBELL. Certainly not, sir. 

Mr. LOGAN. I did not say that I did not vote for reasons 
best known to myself; but I did say from feelings of courtesy 
towards members who came here from a distance, and who might 
have supposed that, from the fact of my residing at the seat of 
government, I might be influenced in my vote. That was the 
reason, sir. I would have voted against it if my vote would have 
had any effect. 

Mr. CAMPBELL. Well, the gentleman cannot clear him- 
self yet. He permits money to be taken out of the treasury, does 
not vote against the law, but quietly permits it to be passed, and 
now gets up here and denounces the appropriation contained 
therein as extravagant. — Now, he had acted wrong, put the 
matter in any shape. If he, (Mr. C.) considered a principle 
wrong, he would be derelict in his duty if he did not resist it to 



34 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the utmost of his efforts. This would have been his course if he 
had been in the General Assembly. Were these assistant officers 
necessary? If they were, why not vote for them? If they were 
not, vote them down. But, no; they must have a discussion 
upon saving a dollar or two in the wages. They must listen to 
this everlasting retrenchment, whose ghost he really expected to 
see stalking about that hall, and shaking its gory locks at those 
who were so continually invoking it. 

We are now in debt, say gentlemen. We are all satisfied of 
that. How are we to get out of it? Why, say they, cut down 
the pay of the door-keepers, and employ a few boys as pages ! A 
gentleman delivers a speech full of commiseration for the widows 
and orphans who hold our bonds, and who are suffering from 
famine in foreign lands, and declares that we should not have a 
door-keeper, because we owe them money. I am willing that that 
speech shall go there, and the gentleman receive full merit for his 
commiseration for their suffering; but I want another speech of 
that gentleman to go along with it. I want then to know that 
when an appropriation of j2o,ooo, at the last session of the Leg- 
islature, was made for the completion of a magnificent building in 
Springfield, the same gentleman advocated it most strenuously, 
while at the same time these widows and orphans were famish- 
ing because we did not pay them our debts; and that he now is 
endeavoring to cut down two dollars a day from the salary of a 
man to wait on the delegates. Let these facts all go together, 
and then they can form a true idea of the sincerity of his com- 
miseration for the widows and orphans! What would be said of 
a gentleman who was in debt, largely, to a number of widows 
and orphans — always a fine subject for tears — who would erect 
a magnificent building worth |2o,ooo, for his own comfort and 
convenience, and then say to his servants, I owe a large debt to 
some widows and orphans who are famishing in a foreign land, 
and to enable me to pay them, I must cut down your pay one- 
half; to enable me to relieve their sufferings, I must lay a contri- 
bution on you? 

Look across the way, on the other side of your street, and you 
will behold a magnificent edifice, with large fluted columns, and 
Italian marble floors, erected at a time when 'widows and orphans' 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9, 1S47 35 

held their paper, which they could not, would not, never intended 
to redeem. — [Applause.] Was the gentleman's voice heard then? 
— Let us, let them, let these 'widows and orphans' judge of the 
sincerity of the commiseration by facts. The time will come, the 
day is not far distant, when we may read, on the massive open 
panels of the door of that institution, this inscription, in chalky 
whiteness — "This house to let." Yet it is hoped by some that out 
of the ashes of this institution, another, phoenixlike, will arise, 
with more brilliant plumage on its wing, a voice more finely toned 
to delusion, but with a keener glance of vengeance in its eye, 
greater strength in its pinion, and more power to destroy in its 
talons, which shall out-Herod its ancient ancestor; but I trust 
that ere this phcenix shall begin to live, these ashes to feel vitality, 
the fiat of this Convention will scatter them to the four winds of 
heaven. 1 JL i '> '■' * 

The sins of omission are not so "bad in tKe sight of the people 
as those <^ commission. He would prefer, then, to stay within 
our proper undoubted bounds, rather than to venture on doubtful 
questions. 

Where is the restraint upon our powers? If we can appropri- 
ate one dollar, we can ten. So far as altering, amending, or 
abrogating the old constitution is concerned, we are (Mr. C. 
said) sovereign. But when we go beyond that duty, the 
constitution is as binding upon us as ever. That constitution 
says no money shall be appropriated except by law. Who 
can make the law? Can this Convention? If the Legis- 
lature had not appropriated the money we could not receive one 
cent; nor can we say that any member of this body shall draw less 
than four dollars a day, as provided by the law of the Legislature. 

He had been an attentive observer of the proceedings of the 
Legislature of late. I have watched the progress of their economy. 
I have seen them, when a bill for the reduction of their own pay 
was before their body, voting for its passage, and, when it was on 
its way to the Senate, trembling, like Balthazar of old, with their 
knees shaking one against the other, with very fear that the 
Senate would pass their own bill. I have seen them running to 
and fro, electioneering with Senators to defeat the measure they 
dared not vote against. 



36 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. LOGAN. I hope the gentleman does not allude to me as 
one of them. 

Mr. C. No, sir, no. The gentlemen have a great desire to 
have a starting point in their economy, and I have always noticed 
that they make small officers like door-keepers the starting point. 
When the magnificent building was proposed to be finished in 
Springfield, they found that that would not do for a starting 
point — "you must commence with the door-keepers." This, sir, 
is saving up pennies with one hand and scattering dollars with 
the other, while "widows and orphans" are famishing in foreign 
lands. He had heard a member in the Legislature declare that, 
during the whole session, he had not voted for an appropriation 
of a single dollar; yet that same man quietly pocketed the four 
dollars a day for his services. 

The gentleman from Sangamon had read an extract from the 
constitution of Vermont, which stated that the salaries of officers 
should not be so high as to induce persons to seek them. That 
same gentleman, however, when the proposition was to raise the 
salaries of the judges, voted for it. Did he do this because there 
were no applicants for the office? No applicants in Illinois for 
judgeships! As regards the salaries of the judges, he was in 
favor of making them sufficiently large to command talent. 
Would any lawyer, he asked, who had by his talent and ability 
raised himself into standing and reputation, and whose practice 
allowed him to make $1,500 a year, accept a judgeship at one thou- 
sand? — Certainly not, particularly if he had a family to support 
and children to educate. 

He would always be in favor of fair and reasonable salaries to 
all officers. While we should not be prodigal on one hand, we 
should not fix the pay so low that it would not command talent. 
If low, men would seek it; if high, men would seek it; but if the 
pay were reasonable, men of talent would present themselves, 
would come into competition, and the people would elect them. 
He fully concurred with the opinion that this Convention could 
not compel a single delegate to forego one cent of the four dollars 
a day allowed by the Legislature. He was willing to contribute 
his share towards paying these officers, if the Convention would 
not elect them, but not one cent upon compulsion. 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE g, 1847 37 

Let the members obtain the certificate from the President, 
and go to the Auditor with them, and, though he has the resolution 
of this body on his table, he will not refuse to pay them what the 
law allows. If he does, get out a mandamus to compel him. He 
admitted that if the law of the Legislature in any way directed 
this Convention as to what charges should be made, so far it 
would be inoperative — would not be binding. Was it the inten- 
tion of any delegate to adopt a constitution as the organic law of 
the state without submitting it to the people? He was certain 
there was not, and therefore could see no propriety in discussing 
the point. 

The resolution of the gentleman from Pike states the object 
of this Convention to be to alter, amend, and revise the constitu- 
tion. I admit that for this purpose and object, the power of the 
Convention is omnipotent, but no farther. 

In conclusion, he hoped that after every gentleman had ex- 
pressed his opinion who desired to do so, we would proceed to the 
organization of the Convention. — He was not for hot haste in 
any thing. The time taken up in discussing preliminary matters 
was not altogether lost; nor had there been more of it here than 
in other Conventions. 

Mr. WOODSON thanked the gentleman from Jo Daviess for 
the very liberal views he had expressed. He agreed with him 
that there was no necessity for haste. The matters that had been 
discussed would, at some future time, have been presented to us; 
and he considered it as well that they should be fully discussed 
and settled now. They had taken a wide range. He regretted 
that one gentleman from Fulton, who had participated much in 
the discussion, had thought necessary to move, to-day, upon 
every question that was presented, to lay on the table; thereby 
cutting off all opportunities for debate. Gentlemen had com- 
plained about the consumption of time. One of them, from Lee, 
had entered into a calculation upon the subject; and if we apply 
his calculation to his own speeches, it would appear that he had 
already cost the state ?2,ooo. The only speeches that had been 
made on their side were those by the gentleman from Peoria and 
Sangamon. The Convention had voted down the proposition to 
have the printing let out to the lowest bidder, and that without 



38 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

debate. The gentleman from Fulton had expressed his determina- 
tion to cut of[f] all debate, by moving to lay every proposition 
on the table, until the Convention had organized. 

Mr. WEAD explained that such was not his object. 

Mr. WOODSON resumed. He considered that the Conven- 
tion had sovereign power. Gentleman may speak of demagogue- 
ism, but he, when a principle was involved of such importance as 
that advocated by his friend from Sangamon, was of opinion that 
it was immaterial what the cost was, if the discussion would 
enable them to arrive at the true principles on which they should 
act. He had no idea that what he would say would have much 
effect upon the Convention; he spoke with great mistrust of his 
own power and abilities. He denied that this Convention was a 
creature of the Legislature — that it had called the Convention 
into being. They had been called there by a preliminary act of 
a former Legislature, on which the people had passed. — He 
contended for the right of the Convention to say whether the 
constitution they might adopt should be submitted to the people 
or not. 

Mr. W. pursued the subject at some length, and we regret 
that from the want of space we cannot give the whole of the report 
of his speech furnished us.^ 

Mr. WHITNEY advocated, briefly, the immediate organiza- 
tion of the Convention by the election of the remaining officers. 

Mr. KNOWLTON had been astonished and amused at the 
course which had been pursued by some gentlemen during this 
discussion. While he admitted that there was such a thing as 
economy of time, he would remind gentlemen that even the world 
was not made in a day. He knew a man where he came from 
who had a constitution already written out, which, if he had 
thought of bringing [it] with him, might have been adopted, and 
they could now have been on their way home. He spoke at much 
length upon the importance of small matters when a great principle 
was concerned, and urged the necessity of always meeting them 
with an ample discussion. He would tell the gentleman from 
Jo Daviess that if the ghost of murdered Retrenchment came 

"A longer account of Woodson's speech may be found in the Sangamo 
Journal, June 17. 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9, 1847 39 

into that hall, the gentleman from Jo Daviess would never be 
troubled by him. He would never be called upon to explain, 
with Macbeth, 'Avaunt! shake not thy gory locks at me, I did it 
not;' because no one would think of accusing that gentleman of 
anything connected with retrenchment. Mr. K. continued the 
subject much further, alluding particularly to the desire of his 
constituents to have the enormous allowances made for printing 
reduced. 

Mr. Archer replied briefly to Mr. K. and urged the views 
presented by him when he offered his amendment. 

Mr. GREEN of Tazewell said that he had come here under 
the expectation of meeting civilized men in Convention; men that 
had been, at least, decently educated. But, no; those whom 
he had heard had given way to the use of that weapon called 
sarcasm. Gentlemen had forgotten that courtesy which should 
teach them to speak to and of each other more respectfully. This 
he said had been the impression made on him. He said that if 
he had come into the hall while one of them was speaking, he 
would most certainly have thought that a certain young man had 
fancied himself a David; that on the other side of the room had 
sprung up a Goliath; and this young man was prepared with his 
small pebble and sling to kill the monarch of the Philistines. 

He had heard the law expounded by judges, doctors, and 
readers of the law, and had heard as many opinions of what the 
law was as he had persons discuss it.^-What was to be done? 
When doctors disagree who shall decide? Mr. G. denied the 
power of the Legislature to control or limit the powers of this 
Convention. He hoped to hear no more about omnipotencey 
\sic\. There was no omnipotence among frail men — even if there 
were one hundred and sixty-two of them. 

Mr. LOGAN said it was not his wont to discuss questions 
after he had ascertained that such discussion was to have no effect. 
But he desired to say a few words in reply to what had been said 
concerning himself. Gentlemen had cast out insinuations upon 
the motives which had governed the actions and speeches of 
others; they might do so, for they had no effect upon him; he 
passed them by as the idle wind, which he regarded not. It had, 
also, been said that speeches had been made for Buncombe, &c.; 



40 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

but he could assure gentlemen that he had as little use for such 
matters as any others. 

He had stated, when he first spoke, that the door-keeper and 
secretary were the trifling matters, and should not have contended 
on that point if it had stood alone. The gentleman from Clinton 
had offered this resolution, and he should have been the object 
of the gentlemen's wrath. They had, however, permitted his 
friend to escape, and had poured out all their vials of wrath on 
his (Mr. L.'s) head. When he saw the vote this morning, he 
considered and was satisfied that the matter was decided; but 
the gentlemen had continued their attacks upon him. 

He had no desire to turn upon these gentlemen with angry 
feelings, for the truth was that there was no truth in anything that 
had been said of him, except what the gentleman from Jo Daviess 
had said. He cared nothing for the falsehoods; but when there 
was truth in the attack, he was disposed to admit its effect. 

He had not the least idea that the Legislature would raise the 
pay of the members above ^3, and when they said ^3.50, and sent 
it to the Senate, he was astonished. The Senate increased it to 
four dollars, and it came back to the House. He was disposed 
to vote against it, but in consequence of the motives of delicacy 
and courtesy mentioned before, and because he had just succeeded 
in getting through an appropriation of twenty thousand dollars, 
for the purpose of clearing away the dirt and rubbage scattered 
around this square, he interposed no objection to the per diem 
fixed. He felt he had done wrong, and he now candidly admitted 
that he was wrong in not voting against that which he considered 
wrong in principle. The law allowed some of the judges ?i,soo 
and others $1,000, and to make them all alike, and as they were 
to remain in office but a short time, he had voted to pay them all 
alike. 

He still urged that the Convention should exercise the strictest 
economy. The state was insolvent. He had, in consequence of 
endorsing for a friend, become insolvent himself. He had prac- 
ticed retrenchment in all of his expenses of living until he had 
paid every cent he owed. The state should do the same. He 
was willing to jeopard his popularity, and would go as far as any 
man in so doing, by making the people pay her debt. 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9, 1847 41 

Mr. ARCHER'S amendment was then adopted. 

The question was taken on the final adoption of the first 
resolution, and it was carried — yeas 87, nays 64. The second 
was also adopted. 

The Convention then proceeded to the election of an assistant 
secretary; when, H. G. Reynolds received 84 votes; J. M. Burt, 
60; J. S. Roberts, 5; and Mr. Reynolds was declared elected. 

The Convention divided on the nomination of Mr. R. Wood- 
ruff, as assistant door-keeper; when he received 86 votes, and 
was elected. 

The Convention then divided on the election of a printer, and 
Messrs. Lanphier & Walker received 88 votes, and were 
elected. 

On motion, 200 hundred [sic] copies of the rules were ordered 
to be printed. And then the Convention adjourned until 9 
o'clock, to-morrow. 



IV. THURSDAY, JUNE lo, 1847 

Prayer by Rev. Mr. Dresser J 

Mr. MINSHALL presented a resolution setting forth proposed 
amendments to the present judicial system of the state; which 
was, 

On motion of Mr. MANLY, laid on the table. 

Mr. DUNSMORE presented a resolution. Adopted. 

Mr. WOODSON presented a resolution that the Convention 
should meet at 8, a. m., and adjourn at 12, m., and meet again 
at 3, and adjourn at 6, p. m., each day. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess thought that sessions of six 
hours each day were enough in this crowded hall, and this season 
of the year. He was in favor of meeting in the forenoon, and 
allowing the afternoon for the committees. 

Mr. SINGLETON thought it would be more conducive to the 
health of the members that they should be in the hall during the 
heat of the day. 

Mr. SCATES was in favor of short sessions each day, and that 
the committees should have sufficient time to perform their work. 
He would vote to meet at nine, and leave the Convention to 
regulate its time of adjournment. 

Mr. SHUMWAY opposed the resolution. 

Mr. ROBBINS was in favor of the proposed hour of meeting, 
but opposed to the fixed hours of adjournment, as such would 

'Rev. Charles Dresser: bom February 24, 1800, at Pomfret, Connecticut; 
1823, graduated from Brown University; went to Virginia and studied the- 
ology with Dr. Meade (afterward Bishop Meade); 1829, ordained as minister 
of the Protestant Episcopal church; April, 1838, arrived at Springfield, 
Illinois; 1838-1852 (1855?), rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Spring- 
field; November 4, 1842, performed marriage ceremony for Abraham Lincoln 
and Mary Todd; 1855, elected Professor of Divinity and Belles Lettres in 
Jubilee College and remained in that position some time; 1858, given degree 
of D. D. by St. Paul's College, Missouri; returned to Springfield, wheie he 
died March 25, 1865. 

Bateman and Selby, Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, 137; Bateman 
and Selby, Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois; History of Sangamon County, 
2: 889; Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, 268, 269; 
Inter-State Pubhshing Company, History of Sangamon County, 659. 
42 



THURSDAY, JUNE lo, 1847 43 

lead to much inconvenience to the Convention. He offered to 
meet at 8 a. m. 

Mr. PALMER moved to lay the resolution and amendment 
on the table. Carried. 

Mr. CONSTABLE offered a resolution providing that the 
Convention should meet each day at 8, a. m., and 3, p. m. 

Mr. ROBBINS moved to strike out "3, p. m." Lost. 

The resolution was then adopted. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Madison offered a resolution increasing 
the number of committees. Adopted. 

Mr. HAYES offered a resolution providing for a submission 
to the people of every amendment to the constitution, separately. 

Mr. DEMENT moved to refer the resolution to the committee 
on the Revision and Adjustment of the Constitution. 

Mr. CONSTABLE moved to lay the motion of reference on 
the table; which was carried. The resolution was then laid on 
the table. 

Mr. ADAMS offered a resolution calling on the Secretary of 
State for certain information relative to literary matters and the 
state of the school fund. Adopted. 

Mr. PETERS offered a resolution to amend the rules by adding 
that there shall be [a] "committee on Townships." Laid on the 
table. 

Mr. HARVEY offered a resolution to increase the number of 
committees by adding a "committee on the State Debt." Laid 
on the table. 

A resolution was offered, and adopted, providing for a "com- 
mittee on Legislative Business." 

Mr. DAVIS of Massac offered a resolution that a quorum of 
this Convention, to do business, shall consist of two-thirds of the 
delegates elected, (108 members to constitute a quorum.) 
Adopted. 

Mr. Z. CASEY moved that 200 copies of the constitution of 
the state be printed for the use of the Convention. Adopted. 

Mr. WOODSON presented a preamble and resolution setting 
forth various proposed alterations in the state government. Laid 
on the table. 

Mr. SCATES offered a resolution requiring information from 



44 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the revenue clerks of the different counties; which, after some 
debate, and various proposed amendments had been voted down, 
was laid on the table. 

Mr. ARCHER presented a preamble and resolution relating 
to several proposed amendments to the constitution, and moved 
their reference to a committee. 

Mr. CONSTABLE moved to lay the motion to refer and the 
resolution on the table. Carried. 

Mr. SCATES presented a resolution that a select committee 
should be appointed to apportion the business among the several 
standing committees. 

Mr. KNOWLTON moved to lay the resolution on the table. 
Which was carried. 

Mr. WHITNEY moved to adjourn till to-morrow, at 9, a. m., 
to enable the President to appoint the standing committees. 

Mr. BALLINGALL inquired of the Chair if that time would 
be sufficient. 

The CHAIR replied that he did not think he could appoint 
them before Monday next. 

Mr. WHITNEY then withdrew the motion to adjourn. 

Mr. McCALLEN offered a resolution providing that the 
standing committees should be chosen proportionately from the 
congressional districts. 

Messrs. Whitney and Adams opposed the resolution; and, on 
motion, it was laid on the table. 

Mr. DAVIS of Bond offered a resolution in relation to the 
judiciary. Laid on the table. 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin offered a resolution on the same 
subject. Laid on the table. 

Mr. EVEY offered a resolution regulating the powers of the 
General Assembly, the pay of its members, &c. — Laid on the 
table. 

The Convention then adjourned till to-morrow, 9 a. m. 



V. FRIDAY, JUNE ii, 1847 

Prayer by Rev. Mr. Hale.' 

The PRESIDENT laid before the Convention a petition, re- 
ceived by him through the post office, praying certain reforms in 
the judiciary department of the state government; which was 
read, in part, and laid on the table. 

Mr. NORTHCOTT presented a resolution proposing to give 
the Legislature power to levy a poll-tax, to be appropriated to 
certain purposes. Laid on the table. 

Mr. ROUNTREE presented a resolution establishing a court 
of record, and abolishing certain other offices. Laid on the 
table. 

Mr. JENKINS offered a resolution providing for the election 
of state and county officers, their salaries, members of the Legis- 
lature, and their per diem. Laid on the table. 

Mr. SCATES presented a resolution limiting the power, sala- 
ries, and term of office of the Executive, members of the Legislature, 
public printer, and other officers, and moved its reference to a 
committee of the whole Convention. He had embodied in it a 
series of questions which would occupy the time of the Convention 
hereafter, and he proposed that we should now go into committee 
where we might at once enter into a discussion of all the various 
subjects; and that the several committees might thereby be aided 

*Rev. Albert Hale: bom November 29, 1799, at Glastonbury, Connecti- 
cut; 1813-1821, clerk in country store at Wethersfield; 1827, graduated from 
Yale; agent of American Tract Society in South Carolina, Florida, and Geor- 
gia; returned to Yale and completed theological course; 1830, ordained to 
the ministry; preached for a few months near Boston, making his home with 
Rev. Lyman Beecher; Noyember 11, 1831, arrived at Shawneetown, Illinois; 
1832-1839, made his home in Bond County, doing missionary work there and 
traveling over the state as evangelist; exercised a powerful influence over the 
Indians in Chicago; 1839-1866, pastor of Second Presbyterian Church of 
Springfield ; devoted remainder of life to missionary work ' ' among the extreme- 
ly poor and the pariahs of society;" died in Springfield, January 30, 1891. 

Bateman and Selby , Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, 215; Bateman and 
Selby, Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois; History of Sangamon County, 2 : 
862 ; Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, 348 ; Inter-State 
Publishing Company, History of Sangamon County, 605, 671. 

45 



46 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

in arriving at the views of the Convention upon each subject. 
As there were no standing committees to which these resolutions 
could be referred, he hoped they would adopt his suggestion, and 
refer them all to a committee of the whole. 

Mr. ECCLES agreed with the gentleman from Jefferson, and 
supported his proposition. 

Mr. JENKINS opposed it, as the debate on these questions 
would have to be all gone over again when the subject came 
properly before the Convention. He moved to lay the resolu- 
tion on the table. Carried. 

Mr. ROBBINS presented a resolution, that the delegates from 
each congressional district should meet to-day, at 2, p. m., and 
appoint from their number a select committee of two from each 
district, to aid the Chair in appointing standing committees of 
the Convention; and supported his proposition with some remarks. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess moved to lay the motion on 
the table; which was carried. 

Mr. SHIELDS offered a resolution, changing the time of 
holding state elections from August to November. — Laid on the 
table. 

Mr. ARCHER offered three resolutions — i, that the secretary 
should be authorized to procure such well-bound books as were 
necessary for the keeping of the proceedings of this Convention; 
2, that he should be authorized, when necessary, to employ a 
copyist; the purport of the third the reporter could not catch. 
On motion, the two last were laid on the table. 

Mr. Palmer of Macoupin moved to amend the first, by 
authorizing the employment of an additional secretary to do the 
copying. 

The resolution and amendment were then withdrawn. 

Mr. THOMAS renewed the resolution. 

Mr. LOUDON denied the necessity of the resolution. 

Mr. SINGLETON moved to amend the resolution by adding 
that a committee shall be appointed to inquire into the propriety 
and cost of employing a person to report the proceedings of the 
Convention for the state. 

Mr. THOMAS hoped the amendment would be withdrawn, as 
it had no connection with the subject matter of the first. 



FRIDAY, JUNE ii, 184.7 47 

Mr. SINGLETON thought the subject was an important one, 
and that something of the kind should be adopted; but for the 
present withdrew his amendment. 

Mr. KITCHELL moved to amend, by striking out all 
after the word "resolved," and insert "that the Secretary of State 
be requested to furnish the necessary books, and that the Con- 
vention proceed to the election of an assistant secretary, whose 
duty it would be to do the copying." 

Mr. WHITNEY moved to lay the subject on the table. 

The question was taken on laying the amendment on the table, 
and decided in the affirmative — ayes 87, noes not counted. 

The motion to lay the orig[i]nal on the table was then with- 
drawn. 

Mr. KINNEY of St. Clair moved to amend by providing that 
the additional secretary perform the duty of copying the journal. 

Mr. ARCHER stated that he had not withdrawn his resolution 
because it conflicted with the resolution adopted yesterday. He 
thought very differently. He also considered that the Convention 
had an implied right over its officers, and power to direct their 
duties. 

Mr. KINNEY of St. Clair gave his reasons for offering the 
amendment. He questioned the power of the Convention to 
appoint officers other than by the name stated in the law of the 
legislature; at least, that such officer[s] could be paid without an 
appropriation by the legislature. 

Mr. SCATES said, that the Convention had a right to employ 
any officers necessary for the transaction of business, but they 
would have to wait for their pay until the legislature should make 
an appropria'tion for the purpose. He opposed action in the mat- 
ter at the present time, because there was not sufficient copying 
yet to be done to afford a man sufficient employment. He hoped 
they would postpone the matter. He moved to lay the matter 
on the table. Carried. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of McDonough offered a resolution providing 
that no negro, Indian, mulatto, or other person of mixed blood, 
or one-eighth blood, should attain, have, or use the rights of 
citizenship under the constitution this Convention should adopt. 



48 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. THOMAS moved to postpone the resolution till the first 
of December next. Carried. 

Mr. BROCKMAN offered a resolution that no new county- 
shall be hereafter organized by the legislature, unless it shall 
contain an area of 400 square miles. 

Mr. WORCESTER offered a resolution providing for the 
election of state and county superintendents of common schools, 
&c. 

Mr. SHUMWAY moved to amend, by prohibiting the legis- 
lature from borrowing at any time any of the college or seminary 
funds. 

On motion of Mr. PETERS, the resolution and amendment 
were laid on the table. 

Mr. BOSBYSHELL offered, as an additional rule, that no 
member, when addressing the Convention, shall speak over one 
hour. Laid on the table. 

Mr. KNAPP offered a resolution proposing, as a part of the 
new constitution, that no county shall be entitled to more than 
two members, &c.' Laid on the table. 

Mr. GEDDES offered a resolution providing that all elections 
hereafter shall be by ballot; to which was offered an amendment, 
that no one should vote at such elections except free white male 
citizens and such unnaturalized foreigners as had heretofore 
exercised the privilege. Laid on the table. 

Mr. WEAD offered a resolution calling for information from 
the Auditor about the public debt, the means present and pro- 
spective of paying the same, &c. 

Mr. DAVIS of Bond, believing no such information could be 
obtained, moved to lay it on the table, but withdrew the motion. 

Mr. WEAD said, his desire in presenting the resolution was 
to obtain all the information possible, with a view of putting in 
the new constitution some provision to liquidate the debt. He 

' At the close of the debates for Friday, June 18, the Illinois Slate Register 
of June 19, published the following correction by Knapp : 

"Mr. Editor: Will you be kind enough to publish this communication 
in your next paper, by way of correcting some errors, which have been made 
doubtless by your reporter unintentionally. In a previous number you report 
'Mr. Knapp' as offering a resolution that 'no county shall have more than 
two representatives nor less than one.' That was ofiEered by Mr. Bosby- 

SHELL." 



FRIDAY, JUNE ii, 1847 49 

said that, even if all the Auditor knew of the matter had been 
reported, they could get that much information at least. The 
Auditor could tell them what property the state had, what means 
she had of paying the debt, and when the debt was payable. If 
it should turn out, (and this information would be of some assist- 
ance to them in coming at some conclusion,) that a low tax would 
pay the annual interest and finally the debt, they could decide on 
the measure. 

The state was laboring under the stain of not having 
provided for the payment of the interest on her debt, and his 
constituents felt more interest in that than in any other matter. 

Mr. LOGAN was in favor of the resolution, but he suggested 
that part of it was misdirected. It would be as well, indeed more 
proper, to address the first part of the resolution to the Fund 
Commissioner. The amendment suggested was accepted. 

Mr. Z. CASEY suggested that they could perhaps obtain 
more information by directing the inquiry to the Governor, who 
had returned from the east, where he had gone in relation to some 
matters connected with the state debt. He no doubt possessed 
the information. 

Mr. LOGAN said, that he had spoken under the impression 
that the Governor had not returned. 

Mr. WEAD accepted the suggestion as an amendment. 

Mr. SHUMWAY moved to add, that he be requested to inform 
them of the result of his negotiation; which amendment was 
accepted. 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin suggested that it would be proper 
to amend by asking the information so far as the Governor might 
deem did not conflict with the public interest. 

Mr. WHITESIDE said, neither the Fund Commissioner or 
the Auditor could furnish the information called for by the 
resolution. Those officers had been called upon before, and 
there were no materials in their possession upon which they could 
report. He suggested some other officer. 

Mr. Z. CASEY said, the Governor, if required to furnish the 
information, could call upon all the diflPerent officers to furnish 
him with what each particular branch of the government had 
charge of. He hoped the resolution would pass. 



50 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. DEMENT hoped the resolution would pass; and by calling 
upon the Governor for the information he possessed, we could 
receive all that was possessed by the various officers under his 
control. 

The resolution was then adopted. 

Mr. GRIMSHAW offered a resolution calling upon the various 
county clerks for information in regard to the revenue of their 
respective counties, &c. Carried — yeas 78, nays 22. 

Mr. WOODSON offered, as an additional rule, that no standing 
rule of the Convention should be rescinded or suspended, except 
by a vote of two-thirds. Lost— ayes 39, noes not counted. 

Mr. SCATES moved that the rules adopted by the Conven- 
tion some days ago be referred to a committee of the whole, for 
the purpose of amending or altering them. 

Mr. THOMAS asked if the rules had been adopted by the 
Convention for their government; and, if so, had the vote by 
which they were adopted been reconsidered? 

The CHAIR replied that the rules had been adopted; that 
the vote adopting them had not been reconsidered; and that he 
did not think it in order to refer the rules, as moved by the gentle- 
man from Jefferson. 

Mr. DEMENT inquired if any delegate were to propose an 
amendment to the rules, whether it would not be in order to refer 
that amendment to the committee of the whole; and, being 
answered in the affirmative, said he hoped they would follow the 
suggestion. 

Mr. Z. CASEY said, he thought there was no necessity for the 
Convention to go into committee of the whole to amend the rules. 
They were the rules of the Convention, adopted by the Conven- 
tion, and governed by the Convention could do with them as 
they pleased. — They had adopted them, and, at any time, could 
alter or repeal them. If you refer the rules to the committee, 
they govern there as well as in Convention, and you could do no 
more there with them than here. He thought it better and 
easier for the Convention to amend the rules than by referring 
them. 

Mr. WOODSON agreed with the gentleman from Jefferson 
last up. He was satisfied that gentleman was right. The 



FRIDAY, JUNE it, 1847 51 

Convention could, by a bare majority, amend the rules, and 
there was but little to be done in amending them. 

Mr. DEMENT said, that he was not anxious to get the 
matter into committee of the whole, but as the gentleman from 
Jefferson had expressed a desire to that effect, he had only made 
a suggestion as to the proper means of arriving at his object. He 
had voted against the resolution requiring a two-third vote to 
amend the rules, because he knew the rules had been adopted 
without discussion, and that, perhaps, some members desired to 
have them altered. He was satisfied with them, and, when they 
had again been voted on, would be in favor of the two-third rule. 

Mr. DAVIS of Bond had been informed that the rules had 
been adopted by the Convention; there was no necessity of a 
further discussion of them. If it was desired to amend, let the 
proposition be made and voted on. 

Mr. SCATES had no other desire in moving to go into com- 
mittee of the whole than that of economizing time. He had no 
intention to propose any amendment, nor was he in favor of chang- 
ing any of them, except, perhaps, the number required by the 
6th rule to demand the yeas and nays. He might vote to reduce 
it from ten to a smaller number. 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin said, that as gentlemen had 
expressed themselves satisfied with the rules, he would move to 
reconsider the vote by which the two-third rule had been rejected. 
He had voted against it because gentlemen desired to discuss and 
amend the rules; there being none such now appearing, he was for 
having stability in them. He made the motion to reconsider. 

Mr. LOGAN thought it too soon to adopt the two-third rule 
in regard to amending the rules. He hoped the members would 
allow the rules to stand a little while longer, until they should have 
time to try them and see how they answered. He knew little or 
nothing about rules — he was no connoisseur in them; he wished 
to try what they had adopted; and if they found anything wanted 
amendment, they could adopt it. 

Mr. PALMER withdrew his motion to reconsider. 

Mr. MARKLEY moved to strike out "ten," in the 6th rule, 
and insert "four." 

Mr. LOGAN said, this thing of calling the yeas and nays 



52 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

occupied great time, and he was sure there could arise no questions 
where it was in the least important to have them, but ten members 
could be found who would second the demand. He could not 
conceive a case where this would occur. There was no charm in 
the numbers ten or four, and he thought ten was small enough. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Madison opposed the change because, 
from experience, he knew the time uselessly occupied and wasted 
in calling the yeas and nays. 

The CHAIR suggested that it was necessary to reconsider the 
vote by which the rule had been adopted, as it was not in order to 
amend what had been passed. 

Mr. MINSHALL moved to reconsider the vote by which the 
rules had been adopted, and asked the unanimous consent that 
it be passed now, and not lay [sic] over for three days. 

Mr. PRATT thought the proper way to bring the rules before 
them was to suspend the 17th rule, which required three days' 
notice of every motion to reconsider. 

Mr. LOGAN hoped they would be taken up by unanimous 
consent; they had nothing else to do, and they might as well 
dispose of that matter. 

Mr. SHUMWAY thought still, that, even by unanimous 
consent, they could not be taken up on a motion to reconsider; 
and he moved to suspend the 17th rule, to enable them to do so. 

Mr. PRATT agreed with the gentleman last up, and pressed 
the matter on the attention of the Convention. 

Mr. SHERMAN proposed the reading of the rules one at a 
time, and that all propositions to amend should be made then. 

The CHAIR ruled that they could take a vote on the motion 
to reconsider by unanimous consent. 

Mr. WILLIAMS was willing to take the vote now, as he 
hoped they would get to the discussion of the great questions 
they had been sent here to settle. It would be time enough to 
amend the rules when we had discovered that we had been too 
hasty in adopting them. — If the majority thoughtproper to change 
the number in the 6th rule, and put it in the power of a few to 
demand the yeas and nays, they could at any time do so, and he 
would not now object to a vote on the matter; but he was not in 



FRIDAY, JUNE ii, 1847 53 

favor of lessening the number; on the contrary, he would prefer 
that it was greater. 

Mr. BUTLER moved the previous question. 

The CHAIR said that, upon reflection, he thought the motion 
to suspend the 17 th rule was the proper one. 

Mr. POWERS advocated the suspension. 

The question was taken on suspending the 17th rule, and 
agreed to. 

Mr. DEMENT called for the reading of the rules. 

Mr. Z. CASEY proposed that they should read the rules one 
after another, commencing at the first and continuing on till done 
with them; and that members, having amendments, should offer 
them at the reading of the rule they desired to amend. He said 
that, as an excuse to the Convention for having interfered 
in this matter so much, he would state that he was a member of 
the committee that had reported these rules, and he was somewhat 
surprised that this Convention adopted them so hastily. It was 
an unusual thing, and he had considered it somewhat of a com- 
pliment to the committee, who had drawn them up in a great hurry. 

Mr. PALMER of Stark said that it was, in his opinion, pre- 
mature to revise the rules of the Convention at this time. He was 
willing to retain them as they were until it appeared that there 
was something in them which impeded the progress of the Con- 
vention in the transaction of its business. 

Mr. THOMAS said, he hoped the vote would be taken whether 
the Convention was satisfied with the rules, as they stood at 
present, or not. As to the number which should be in the 6th 
rule to demand the yeas and nays, he was in favor of 20 instead 
of 10. It reminded him of an anecdote which he had heard in 
the Legislature when it sat in Vandalia. The House of Repre- 
sentatives gave one of its members leave of absence till the first 
of March, because he called the yeas and nays so often. 

Mr. BALLINGALL was in favor of an amendment to the 
loth rule; he was in favor of striking from that rule the exclusion 
of the yeas and nays from the proceedings of the committee of 
the whole. In committee, the most important questions would 
be decided, and put in the constitution they would adopt, and 
yet their constituents could not tell how they had voted. 



54 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. EDWARDS of Sangamon offered two additional rules; 
which were adopted. 

Mr. DAVIS of Bond called for the reading of the rules. 

The PRESIDENT then read the rules one after the other, 
pausing between each for propositions to amend. At the I2th 
rule, 

Mr. McCALLEN moved to substitute for the rule as it now 
stands, the following: "All standing committees shall be ap- 
pointed by the President, to be chosen alternately, two members 
from each congressional district; and that such committees shall, 
by ballot, select their own chairmen." The amendment was lost. 

Mr. ROBBINS moved to amend the i6th rule, by adding 
thereto — "and each member, while speaking, shall confine him- 
self to the subject matter before the Convention." 

The House was dividing on the amendment, when the yeas 
and nays were demanded, and ordered. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Madison said, the amendment was entirely 
unnecessary. It was the duty of the President to confine the 
members to the question before the Convention. 

Pending the call of the yeas and nays, the Convention ad- 
journed till 3, p. M. 

AFTERNOON 

Mr. ROBBINS withdrew his call of the yeas and nays. 

Mr. PRATT renewed the call. 

Mr. HAY moved to amend the amendment, by limiting all 
speeches to thirty minutes. The amendment to the amendment 
was laid on the table — yeas 80. 

The amendment was then laid on the table — ayes 85, noes not 
counted. 

Mr. MARKLEY moved to amend the 17th rule, by striking 
out all after the word "Convention," in the 3d line. Lost. 

Mr. PALMER moved to strike out all from the word "except" 
to the word "twice," inclusive, in the i8th rule. Lost. 

A rule, that the rules of the Convention might be suspended 
or amended in part, or in whole, by a vote of two-thirds, was 
offered by some member (name not known to the reporter) and 
adopted; also, a rule that a motion to adjourn, the previous 



FRIDAY, JUNE ii, 1847 55 

question, to lay on the table, to refer, to postpone, and to postpone 
indefinitely, should always be in order, to be decided without 
debate, and should have precedence in the order named, was 
adopted; and then the rules were concluded. 

Mr. WILLIAMS hoped that the resolutions offered yesterday 
by the gentleman from Green (Mr. Woodson) would be taken 
up, by the Convention, from the table, and that we would now 
proceed to the discussion of the principles contained in them. By 
so doing, we would be approaching nearer a decision of something. 
Without this, there would be nothing for us to do. 

The motion was carried, and the following resolutions were 
taken up : 

Resolved, That the government of the state of Illinois shall 
consist of three co-ordinate departments, each independent of the 
other; and that the powers of the government should be so divided 
and so distributed among these departments that neither of them 
could, without the consent and co-operation of at least one of the 
others, injuriously affect either of the great rights of personal 
liberty and private property. 

Resolved, That the necessary distribution of power for this 
purpose is into legislative, judicial, and executive departments: 
theiirst is to prescribe general rules for the government of society; 
the second, to expound and apply these rules to individuals in 
society; the third, to enforce obedience to the judgment and 
decrees of the second, and see that the laws are faithfully executed. 

The propriety of arguing and discussing these resolutions, at 
the present time, was urged by Messrs. Williams, Logan, 
Servant, Davis of Bond, Brockman, and Minshall, and 
opposed by Mr. Palmer of Stark. 

[Mr. WILLIAMS said, that it would be perceived that if we 
now proceed to the discussion of these resolutions, and interchange 
our sentiments and views upon them, and come to a decision on 
the subjects contained in them, that we will decide the three 
great questions — the executive, judicial and legislative depart- 
ments — to be decided; and that after that we would have but 
little more than a bill of rights. 

It is important that the Convention should commence the dis- 



56 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

cussion. If we took but a single question at a time, and every 
member who desires to do so would express his views and propose 
his amendments, we would soon get through; and in this way we 
will have done the most of what we came here to perform. I 
move, then, that we take them up — these two first resolutions 
and discuss them coolly and calmly, and then proceed to the dis- 
cussion and decision of the others. 

Mr. SERVANT said, that if the Convention was disposed to 
economize both time and money, he would suggest to the gentle- 
man from Adams, to permit these resolutions to be laid on the 
table, to have them printed in bill form, so that members would 
be enabled to understand and see these resolutions before them 
and in such a way that they might examine and weigh the 
matters contained in them. He thought that some of the propo- 
sitions contained in these resolutions could not be better nor 
more in accordance with his views; and to others, also contained 
in them, he was opposed. 

He was in favor of taking up all the great questions one at a 
time. For instance, in the first place, we might discuss the proper 
number of senators and representatives to constitute our General 
Assembly, the length of time they should sit, whether annual or 
biennial sessions, the per diem to be allowed them, &c. After 
we had fully discussed this branch of the government, we might 
proceed to the Executive department; take up the Governor and 
the Lieutenant Governor, discuss the proper time for them to 
hold office, their salaries, powers, &c. Then we might pass to the 
Judiciary, settle the number of judges, the length of their terms of 
service, if elective, their salaries — both supreme and circuit courts, 
and all matters connected with them. 

It would be idle for any committee of this Convention to dis- 
regard the expressed views of the members. If gentlemen would 
not speak of the time consumed in debate but had proceeded to 
the organization and pursued the legitimate business of the Con- 
vention; if they who spoke most of the economy of time, had not 
themselves consumed, some of them, five, four, three and two 
hundred dollars worth of time, much might have been done. It 
was not too late yet to retrace their steps. Let them then go to 
work, perform 5he business they were sent here to transact, and 



FRIDAY, JUNE ii, 1847 57 

then they would not be afraid to go home to their constituents, 
who would receive them with approval of ' 'well done, good and 
faithful servants." Let us do this; let us take up and discuss 
these great questions, and after we shall have expressed our opin- 
ions upon them, nothing will be required but a committee of 
revision to prepare them in detail, and then go home. 

Mr. PALMER, of Stark, said that he held in his hand the act 
of the Legislature which called them together to revise, alter and 
amend the constitution of the State. We had met under that 
call. He also held in his hand the present constitution of the 
State. He supposed the proposition to amend would begin with 
the first article of that constitution, and that, pursuing a similar 
plan as that followed in relation to the rules, we would go down, 
article after article, section, after section, until we had gone 
through with it, amending it as we went along in every place that 
we thought it needed amendments. This, it seemed to him, 
would be the proper course; to follow the other would be to act 
as if there was no constitution of the State now in force nor in ex- 
istence. He hoped they would take it up article by article, and 
amend it so far as they thought it required to be done. Then, 
after having gone through with it and made all the amendments 
necessary, let members propose new articles, to be added to the 
constitution, and we could adopt such as we thought proper and 
conducive to the general welfare and prosperity. He appealed 
to his friends and fellow-citizens of the Convention to adopt this 
course. These resolutions were nothing but the expression of 
individual opinions, to have them printed would cost the State 
a great deal of money, and if they were printed there would be 
others to be printed, for all of which the State would have to pay.]'" 

Mr. WILLIAMS said, it had been suggested to him that itwould 
be just as well to lay these resolutions on the table, and have them 
printed, and made the special order for Monday next. 



[Mr. LOGAN. I can see n|||JM|^t in postponing this matter. 
Why not begin now? What,«HH»e we to do? Why not pro- 



'" The detailed reports of tlicse SjleecMfe have been taken from the weekly 
Illinois State Register, June IS. / • 



58 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

ceed in the discussion of the questions proposed in these resolu- 
tions? Why not hear the different opinions, views and senti- 
ments of the members and melt them down — amalgamate them 
into one? Hear the views of gentlemen on these principles, in 
opposition to them, and the modifications of them. Here are 
assembled one hundred and sixty-two members, each has an 
opinion; we had better have them melted down one into another — 
modify one member's opinion by that of others. He hoped they 
would select some subjects — he did not care what — and proceed 
now, this very afternoon, to the discussion of them. They had 
nothing better to do; nothing else to do. 

Mr. DAVIS, of Bond, said, that the remarks of the gentleman 
from Sangamon were very applicable. He, too, hoped they would 
proceed to the discussion of the various subjects that were open 
to them, and which must be, in some form or another, discussed. 
There must, at some time, be an opinion expressed on these sub- 
jects. There was the election of the judges, how the courts 
should be organized, the naturalization laws, the great question 
of banks. These are questions upon which the Convention would 
have to act. There were 162 members of the Convention, all 
had an opinion, they must at some time be reduced to one opin- 
ion — why not commence, then, the discussion this afternoon? 
Take up the judiciary — it may be the first question; take up the 
legislative department, that may be the first question. Let us 
get an opinion on any one of these subjects. Take either of them 
up and discuss it, and then pass on to the others, and until in this 
way we ascertain the sense of the Convention upon them all, and 
the work will be done. 

Mr. BROCKMAN was glad to see the desire of gentlemen to 
get on with the work of the Convention. The best way of serving 
their constituents was to be doing the work they had been sent 
there to perform. There were three leading questions upon which 
they would be called to act — the executive, legislative and judici- 
ary departments of the State — upon either of which we might 
have an immediate discussion. Every delegate had an idea of a 
constitution in his mind, and of what it should be. By commenc- 
ing the discussion now we niight get through the labors of this 
Convention in six weeks; but if we get along only as we have done 



FRIDAY, JUNE ii, 1847 59 

we would not get through in six months. Let us get up those 
resolutions, and then perform our duty by discussing them, which 
is certainly no more than we owe to our constituents. He felt that 
this was his duty as he had sat there in his place and saw the time 
wasted away unprofitably. There was time enough left, and he 
hoped it would be occupied in a proper way.]" 

Mr. BALLINGALL hoped the motion to print would be 
adopted. They could be printed by tomorrow forenoon, and the 
time between now and Monday would be little enough for the 
President to appoint the standing committees. 

Mr. MINSHALL was in favor of going on now. There are 
no committees appointed yet, and we have nothing to do. Let us 
get at the sense of the Convention upon some of these points, and 
then the committees will have nothing to do but carry out our 
views. We all understand what the constitution should be; there 
is no delegate present but does, or is presumed to, know what the 
general features of the constitution should be. He earnestly 
hoped the Convention would go on with the discussion. 

Mr. ROUNTREE thought the motion was very unnecessary. 
We had passed a resolution to print the constitution, which we 
would soon have before us on our desks. There were five days 
already wasted, and we have done nothing. Let us have a starting 
point; and if we would but commence to hear the views of gentle- 
men on any of the questions before us, we would have done much. 
He was in favor of the proposition of the gentleman from Stark. 

Mr. WILLIAMS. It is very well to have the old constitution 
printed, but no delegate would suppose that we are to take it up, 
and do no more than to add to and strike from it. 

He thought Monday next a good day to commence the work 
in earnest. Let us have good feeling among the members — no 
crimination nor recrimination about what is passed, nor about 
what has been said by any of the members. He could see no 
reason for it. Let them do the work for which they had come 
there, and that, too, methodically; and if they went to work thus, 
in the second week, no one could complain. We thus could do 

"These speeches by Logan, Davis, and Brockman, were omitted from 
the tri-weekly Illinois State Register, but printed in the weekly of June 18. 



6o ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the work in a shorter time than in any other way. — The delay of 
one day was not much; and then take it up, and go to work in 
good temper until it was done. 

Mr. WHITNEY liked the feeling that had been displayed by 
gentlemen to expedite the business of the Convention. But he 
did not think they could expedite matters much by commencing 
this evening. If we had these resolutions printed and before us, 
we could then understand, by reading them and examining the 
language ourselves, better than if we had only heard them read 
from the secretary's table. We cannot get through the discussion 
of these questions in a few days, nor, perhaps, in a few weeks. 

Mr. HARVEY moved a division of the questions to print and 
lay on the table. 

Mr. DAVIS of Bond was not opposed to the mere motion of 
printing these resolutions, but in them were not contained all the 
questions which would come before the Convention. They con- 
tained propositions relative to the judiciary and Legislature, but 
the questions of banks, the right of suffrage, the naturalization 
law, were not contained in the resolutions. There was a large 
number of resolutions on the table, and to-day we print these 
two resolutions, and to-morrow other gentlemen will call up their 
resolutions, involving questions upon every subject, and then will 
come motions to have them printed also. 

Mr. KITCHELL said, that the great difficulty in the progress 
of business appeared to him to be in the presentation of too many 
questions for discussion at one time. Here was a series of resolu- 
tions, with a long preamble, partaking of the character of a speech, 
and members could not be expected to discuss or vote upon 
propositions in such a shape. A naked question only should be 
presented. Let it be the abolition of the Council of Revision. 
There was hardly a member but was prepared both to vote on, 
and discuss that proposition; and then so on with others. Let 
the questions be put nakedly to the Convention, and the members 
were prepared to meet them. Let them be presented with the 
question of altering the mode of appointing the judiciary, and the 
various other questions, singly, and they will be prepared for them. 

Mr. LOGAN concurred with the gentleman last up, and had 
drawn up something which would present to the Convention a 



FRIDAY, JUNE ii, 1847 61 

single point, something tangible, which they could all understand. 
It was a proposition to amend the resolutions of the gentleman 
from Greene. 

The CHAIR ruled the amendment out of order, while a motion 
to print and lay on the table was pending. 

Mr. Z. CASEY desired to make a single suggestion. Would 
it not facilitate the matter to refer the whole resolutions to the 
committee of the whole, and make them the order of the day for 
to-morrow? Let all the resolutions that had been offered be 
referred to the committee, and then make something out of the 
whole of them if you can. When the committee had got them 
into shape, let that report be printed. He would not make the 
motion, but merely the suggestion to the Convention. 

Mr. ARCHER could not vote upon important principles set 
forth in a series of resolutions without having had time for reflec- 
tion and examination. He did not desire to vote upon subjects 
which he might, upon reflection, have wished he had not done. 
We had a most important duty to perform. We were making 
laws for ages to come. He had heard the resolutions read once 
at the secretary's table, and could form but a general opinion of 
them; he only recollected part of them. He desired to postpone 
the discussion of them until they could examine them. He 
agreed that we should work with good feeling. We should cast 
no reflection upon gentlemen who might have offered a resolution 
or anything else in the Convention. All were anxious to perform 
the duty that had been assigned them by their constituents; and 
he could not believe that anyone had offered a resolution here for 
the purpose of killing time. He felt that he had a duty incumbent 
on him to go at once to the business of this Convention. In view 
that he might understandingly assume the responsibility of voting 
on the propositions, he thought that he should have time for 
examination. He agreed that they should vote on every proposi- 
tion singly. 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin. The proposition now before 
them was to debate a certain series of resolutions containing several 
propositions offered by the gentleman from Greene. It was very 
proper for those who agreed with the views contained in those 
resolutions to desire their discussion. But other gentlemen had 



62 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

presented a class of resolutions of antagonist character in principle. 
The discussion should be so comprehensive as to include a debate 
upon propositions of both sides. We ought to have them all 
before us, and, after a full discussion of them all, select such views 
as are best from the variety before us. We ought to have the 
most light we can. What advantage would it be to discuss a 
proposition containing but one view of a question, unless at the 
same time we had the antagonist principle set forth in the same 
shape ? 

To discuss the question, how many members the Senate and 
House of Representatives should contain, what need have we of 
having any printing done? He hoped that if any were printed, 
the Convention would have them all before them. 

Mr. LOGAN said that, if there were any gentlemen ready to 
discuss any other questions, there could be no propriety in de- 
laying. He had sent to the Chair an amendment to the resolu- 
tions of the gentleman from Greene, which presented a single 
point. The resolutions of the gentleman provided that the 
judges should be elected and hold their office for six years. His 
amendment proposed that they should be elected one for four 
years, one for eight, and one for twelve years, having a change 
every four years, but to have the term finally at twelve years. 
This amendment would present the question, and to his view, and 
in his estimation, a very great question, whether the judges of 
the supreme court should be elected at different times 
or all at once. He thought these matters might be discussed 
at once. 

Mr. WILLIAMS then withdrew his motion to lay on the table. 

Mr. THOMAS suggested a reference of the whole matter to 
the committee of the whole, as there these questions might be 
discussed singly. He suggested this plan of operation to gentle- 
men, as there seemed to be a disposition to act now. He moved 
a reference of the resolutions and amendment to the committee of 
the whole; which was agreed to. 

The Convention then resolved itself into committee of the 
whole — Mr. Sherman in the chair. 

Mr. BALLINGALL wished to inquire of the gentleman from 
Greene, what he meant by the words in the resolution, "that 



FRIDAY, JUNE ii, 1847 63 

neither of them could, without the consent and co-operation of 
at least one of the others, injuriously affect either of the great 
rights of personal liberty and private property." 

Mr. NORTON said, he had been in favor of laying the resolu- 
tions on the table and printing them, to enable members to under- 
stand them correctly. One person would understand them one 
way, and one another. 

Mr. HARVEY moved to strike out the sentence. 

Mr. WOODSON said, he would explain the meaning. Suppose 
the Legislature should pass a law to hang a man without a trial by 
his peers — without the approbation of any tribunal. Is it possible 
that any law should be recognized as a law until passed upon by 
the judiciary? 

The Legislature can pass no law affecting life or liberty with- 
out the co-operation of a co-ordinate branch of the government. 

Mr. WILLL'^MS explained further, by saying that the Legis- 
lature might pass a law that a man should be hung without trial, 
and send a committee out to execute it; they are precluded from 
so doing by this provision. — They pass laws affecting the rights of 
private individuals, and this provision is introduced to prevent 
an abuse of that power. Why distribute the power of government 
into several branches ? Because one branch of the civil magistrates 
may become corrupt, and there should be some provision in case 
that, if one branch should become corrupt, the other should 
control it. 

Mr. DAVIS of Bond. The gentleman from Greene says, in 
the proposition before us, that no one power can affect life or 
liberty without the co-operation of another. He does not say 
which one. Suppose the Legislature did pass a law to hang a man 
without a trial by his peers, and that it should obtain the co- 
operation of the Governor, that would be another branch of the 
government — but not the right one, I should think! 

Mr. Z. CASEY would suggest to the gentleman from Greene 
that his proposition did not materially amend the constitution. 
It would appear, said he, that that article of the constitution 
is not essentially amended by the proposition of the gentleman. 
In his mind, they, should not attempt to amend the constitution 
unless they obviously did amend it. The old constitution, as he 



64 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

had hinted before, was, in many parts, better than any thing new 
they could adopt. We had better let it alone unless we did 
materially amend it. 

Mr. WOODSON. If the proposition does hot materially 
affect the constitution, there can be no harm in it; nothing objec- 
tionable — nothing to fear in it, if it contains essentially what is in 
the constitution. It is only declaring our opinion that what was 
in the old should be in the new. 

Mr. BALLINGALL moved that the committee rise and report 
that they had had certain resolutions under consideration, had 
made no progress therein, and ask leave to sit again. 

The PRESIDENT took the chair, and the chairman of the 
committee so reported. Several members then rose, and declared 
that it was not their understanding of the report that was to be 
made. The chairman was allowed to amend his report. 

On motion, the Convention adjourned till Monday next, at 
9 o'clock, A. M. 



VI. MONDAY, JUNE 14, 1847 

i-ayer by the Rev. Mr. Palmer.'^ 

Messrs. Gregg, of Cook and Lasater, of Hamilton appeared, 
were qualified and took their seats. 

The president announced the standing committees of the 
Convention; which are as follows: 

Executive Department — Messrs. Lockwood, Rountree, Vance, 
Manly, Swan, Sharp, Huston, Evey, Worcester, Hay and Frick. 

Judiciary — Messrs. Scates, Logan, Henderson, Ballingall, 
Hoes, Harlan, Farwell, Minshall, Wead, Davis of Massac, and 
Hurlbut. 

Legislative Department — Messrs. Dement, Williams, Dale, 
Constable, Thompson, Zadoc Casey, Witt, Servant, Marshall of 
Mason, Peters, Judd, Rives, Pace, Powers, and Heacock. 

Bill of Rights — Messrs. Caldwell, Grimshaw, Cross of Winne- 
bago, Trower, Webber, Knapp of Jersey, Sim, Carter, Atherton, 
and Hunsaker. 

Incorporations — Messrs. Harvey, Dummer, Bosbyshell, Ed- 
monson, Green of Tazewell, Anderson, Kinney of St. Clair, Allen, 
Whitney, Spencer, and Lasater. 

Revenue — Messrs. Zadoc Casey, Thomas, Green of Clay, Knox, 
Laughlin, Palmer of Marshall, Stadden, McClure, Eccles, Jones, 
and Vernor. 

Elections and Right of Suffrage — Messrs. Davis of Massac, 
Green of Jo Daviess, Marshall of Coles, Brown, Geddes, Ballingall, 
Hawley, Armstrong, McCallen, Oliver, and Knowlton. 

Finance — Messrs. Sherman, Davis of Montgomery, Hogue, 
Archer, Robbins, Dunlap, Blakely, Brockman, Pratt, Mieure, 
Harper, Roman, Hatch, Adams, and West. 

Education — Messrs. Campbell of Jo Daviess, Edwards of Madi- 
son, Shumway, Smith of Gallatin, Palmer of Macoupin, Pinckney, 

"^Tliis was apparently Henry D. Palmer, delegate from Marshall County. 
' ' He has frequently been called upon,to serve as chaplain. ' ' Chicago Democrat, 
August 17, 1847, Springfield correspondence of August 10. See biography in 
appendix. 

65 



\ 
\ 

66 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS \ 

Matheny, Choate, Harding, Churchill, Turner, Tutt, Robynsoih, 
and Shields. 

Organization of Departments, and Officers connected with I'he 
Executive Department — Messrs. Archer, Gregg, Edwards of San- 
gamon, Miller, McCully, Lander, McCallen, Church, Aktr, 
Loudon, Kinney of Bureau, Sibley, Kenner, and Moffett. 

Division of the State into Counties and their Organization — 
Messrs. Jenkins, Lasater, Blair, Markley, Simpson, Graham, 
Mason, Cross of Woodford, Turnbull, Canady, and Hill. 

Militia and Military Affairs — Messrs. Whiteside, Morris,- 
James, McHatton, Deitz, Holmes, Kreider, Huston, Tuttle, Smith 
of Macon, Dawson, Moore, and Jackson. 

Revision and adjustment of the articles of the Constitutio)i 
adopted by this Convention and to provide for the alteration and 
amendment of the same — Messrs. Edwards of Madison, Scates, 
Logan, Allen, Knowlton, Butler, Singleton, Holmes, Caldwell, 
Norton, Farwell, Gregg, Woodson, and Thomas. 

Miscellaneous Subjects and Questions — Messrs. Crain, Bunsen, 
Campbell of McDonough, F. S. Casey, Colby, Cross of Woodford, 
Dunn, Dunsmore, Lemon, Lenley, Nichols, Smith of Macon, and 
Northcott. 

Law Reform — Messrs. Hayes, Knapp of Scott, Woodson, 
Thornton, Kitchell, Davis of McLean, Bond, Norton, Thomas, 
Kinney of St. Clair, and Edwards of Sangamon. 

[Mr. CALDWELL requested to be excused from service on 
the committee on the Bill of Rights; which was granted.]'^ 

Mr. DEMENT moved that 200 copies of the rules be printed. 
Carried. 

The president laid before the Convention a communication 
from the Secretary of State, on the subject of common schools. 
Laid on the table. 

Mr. SHUMWAY introduced a resolution containing the 
following propositions: 

I. That the new constitution shall prohibit the Legislature 
from imposing, continuing or reviving a tax— creating a debt — 
making, continuing or reviving any appropriation of money or 
property; or which releases, discharges or commutes any claim of 

"Added from the weekly Illinois State Register, June IS. 



MONDAY, JUm 14, 1847 67 

the State except by yeas.-andmnys, duly entered on the journals; 
and three-fifths of eidwt Hnise shall be necessary to constitute 
a quorum upon the Vf^ffgUgif such acts. 

2. That no a|p||||(«pRon shall be paid out of the State 
treasury, except iMWP<ii^<^^ of 1^^> ^""^ within a certain period 
after its enactmehttv - 

3. That the Legislature shall not grant extra pay to any 
public agent after such public service shall have been performed, 
or contract entefCd into for the performance of the same; 

4. .^Widsiuillalso have power to make deductions from salaries 
of public-oiJiocsrt, who neglect the performance of any public duty 
assignetl"«tlieiii by law. Referred to committee on Legislative 
Department. 

^fr. DEMENT offered the following resolution: 

ResoketU That the order of proceeding in the amendment, 
revision or alteration of the present constitution of this State, 
shall he the reading of the articles and sections thereof, in their 
order, and referring them, together with such amending proposi- 
tions as may seem expedient, to appropriate committees, for their 
consideration. 

Mr. D. said, that this resolution, or one similar to it, should 
be adopted in order to establish, as early as practicable, some 
system by which the business of the Convention could be expedited. 

Mr. BROCKMAN moved to strike out all after the word 
"resolved" and insert various amendments to the constitution. 

Mr. ROBBINS was in favor of the resolution of the gentleman 
from Lee (Mr. Dement.) He thought that if every member 
should at once present all his views upon every subject embraced 
in and connected with the constitution, it would take several 
months to get through. He thought the original resolution was 
calculated to establish a systematic mode of procedure. He 
moved to lay the amendment on the table. Agreed to. 

Mr. PALMER supported the resolution. He was for estab- 
lishing order. Without it they could not proceed with dispatch 
in the business for which they had been called together. Order 
was the first law of nature. He thought that the submission to 
the consideration of the Convention, of skeleton constitutions 
embracing every subject, was calculated to delay action. The 



68 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

multiplicity of ideas and propositions, thus presented, would 
keep them here, they do not know how long. 

Mr. KINNEY offered a substitute to the resolution, the 
substance of which was as follows : — That so much of the constitu- 
tion as relates to the executive, the judiqary, and legislative 
departments, be referred to the committees on those subjects, and 
so also, in regard to questions of finance, education, elections, 
corporations, &c., each subject being referred to its appropriate 
committee. — He also embodied in his resolution, instructions to 
the committee on incorporations, to report against the creation 
of banks in this State, and that no corporation be ^^mitted to 
issue paper money, and that the property of members bf corpora- 
tions be made liable for the debts of such corporations;-"' !*'V 

Mr. ROUNTREE offered a substitute to Mr. K.'s substif fte, 
and differing from it only in leaving out the instructions. ■■" 

Mr. CAMPBELL, of Jo Daviess, advocated Mr. Demeht's 
resolution. 

Mr. ROUNTREE spoke in favor of his own substitute. 

The discussion was continued by Messrs. Kinney of Bureau, 
KiTCHELL, Davis of Bond, Dement and Henry. 

Mr. GEDDES also participated in the debate, and moved to 
lay the substitute on the table. 

Mr. Z. CASEY suggested that the two substitutes be 
withdrawn by the gentleman who offered them; which they agreed 
to. 

The resolution offered by Mr. Dement was further discussed 
by Messrs. Thomas, Logan, Dement, and Rountree, when the 
Convention 

Adjourned till two o'clock. 

afternoon 

The Convention took up the resolution of Mr. Dement, which 
was under consideration at the time of adjournment. 

Mr. DEMENT stated that he had modified the resolution 
which was pending at the adjournment so as to read as follows: 

Resolved, That in Convention the order of proceeding in the 
amendment, revision, or alteration of the present constitution of 
this State shall be, to take it up and read, in their order, the 



MONDAY, JUNE 14, 1847 69 

articles and sections thereof, and referring the amending proposi- 
tions to appropriate committees for their consideration. 

Mr. ROUNTREE then moved the amendment submitted by 
him in the forenoon to the original resolution offered by Mr. 
Dement; which was accepted by Mr. D. 

Mr. SHUMWAY offered a substitute to the resolution; which 
was rejected. 

The question then recurring on Mr. Dement's resolution, it 
was adopted. 

Mr. WOODSON offered a resolution that when a committee 
submits a report, it shall be taken up and disposed of before any 
other business. Adopted. 

Mr. MARKLEY offered the following resolution : 

Resolved, That the committee on Incorporations be, and they 
are hereby, instructed to report an amendment to the constitution 
prohibiting, forever, within this State, the incorporation of any 
bank or company for banking purposes, and the manufacture and 
emission, by any company, copartnership or individual, of any 
bank note, or other paper designed to be circulated as paper money. 

Mr. PRATT offered the following substitute to Mr. M.'s 
resolution: 

Resolved, That the standing committee on Incorporations be 
instructed to inquire into the expediency of reporting the following 
provisions, to be adopted in the amended constitution: 

I. There shall be no bank of issue or discount within this 
State. 

a. The Legislature shall not have power to authorize or 
incorporate, by any general or special law, any bank or other 
institution having any banking power or privilege, or to confer 
upon any corporation, institution, person or persons, any banking 
power or privilege. 

3. It shall not be lawful for any corporation, institution, 
person or persons, within this State, under any pretense or author- 
ity, to make or issue any paper money, note, bill, certificate, or 
other evidence of debt whatever, intended to circulate as money. 

4. It shall not be lawful for any corporation within this 
State, under any pretense or authority, to exercise the business 
of receiving deposits of money, making discounts, or buying or 



70 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

selling bills of exchange, or to do any other banking business 
whatever. 

5. No branch or agency of any bank or banking institution 
of the United States, or of any State or Territory within or without 
the United States, shall be established or maintained within this 
State. 

6. It shall not be lawful to circulate within this State, after 
the year 1848, any paper money, note, bill, certificate, or other 
evidence of debt whatever, intended to circulate as money, issued 
without this State, of any denomination less than $10, or after 
the year 1850, of any denomination less than SS20. 

7. All payments made, or business done, in paper money in 
this State, and coming within the meaning of the last section, are 
declared utterly void; and the Legislature shall, at its first session, 
after the adoption of these amendments, and from time to time 
thereafter as it may be necessary, enact adequate remedies for 
the punishment of all violations and evasions of the provisions 
of the preceding section. 

The PRESIDENT stated that the presentation of these last 
two propositions was premature, they being inhibited by the 
adoption of Mr. Dement's resolution. 

Mr. MINSHALL moved to suspend the rule for to-day; which 
was done, when 

Mr. MARKLEY again offered his resolution on the subjects 
of banks, and 

Mr. PRATT also offered his on the same subject. 

Mr. THOMAS moved to refer both to the committee on 
Incorporations. Carried. 

Mr. offered a resolution to abolish the council 

of Revision. Carried. 

Mr. EDMONSON offered a resolution concerning revenue. 
Adopted. 

Mr. DAWSON offered a resolution, that pleasure carriages, 
watches, &c., be taxed, and the proceeds added to the school fund, 
which, after being amended, so as to make fines and forfeitures as 
a part of the School Fund, was adopted. 

Mr. DAWSON ofi^ered [a] resolution, that the office of public 
printer be abolished. Referred to the committee on Finance. 



MONDAY, JUNE 14, 1847 71 

Mr. ARCHER offered a resolution, that the Executive 
committee inquire into the expediency of limiting the authority 
of the Governor to pardon criminals; which was adopted. He 
also offered a resolution that the legislative committee inquire 
into the expediency of prohibiting the State to borrow, unless the 
bill for such purpose shall have first been submitted to the people, 
except in cases of extreme emergency, and then loans only to a 
limited amount may be borrowed. 

Mr. DEMENT offered a resolution, that an article be incor- 
porated in the constitution, limiting the Legislature to one 
hundred members — thirty senators, and seventy representatives. 

Mr. CASEY moved to strike out all after the word "resolved," 
and insert a provision that there shall be sixty members — forty 
in the House and twenty in the Senate, elected for two years, 
sessions not to exceed sixty days — pay of members two dollars per 
day. 

Mr. EDMONSON moved to amend, so as to provide for a 
biennial session of the Legislature — sessions to hold not exceeding 
sixty days, both branches to consist of one hundred members — 
pay two dollars a day for coming, attending and returning. 
Referred to the committee on the Legislative Department. 

Mr. WOODSON offered as a provision in the constitution, 
that each male inhabitant, over twenty-one years of age, pay a 
capitation tax of one dollar, to be applied in payment of the 
State debt. Referred to the Revenue committee. 

Mr. SHUMWAY offered a resolution, that the Judicial com- 
mittee inquire into the expediency of providing by the constitution, 
that no judge of the circuit or supreme court shall be elected 
during his term of office, to any office of honor, trust and profit, 
except in the case of a circuit judge who may be elected to the 
supreme bench — an offer to be a candidate to be regarded as a 
voluntary resignation of office. 

Mr. CAMPBELL, of Jo Daviess, offered a resolution, that the 
Judiciary committee inquire into the expediency of amending the 
constitution so as to provide that sheriffs shall not be elected for 
a longer term than three years, and they shall not be eligible for a 
second consecutive term; that the officer \sic\ of Lieutenant 



72 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Governor be abolished, and that an additional secretary be 
appointed to report the debates of this Convention. 

Mr. WEAD moved to amend so as to abolish the office of 
Attorney General. He said that he thought that office was 
unnecessary. If the State should be divided in judicial districts, 
requiring the supreme court to be held in each, the district 
attorneys could perform the same duties. He knew of no reason 
why the Attorney General should enjoy a higher dignity than 
other prosecuting attorneys. That officer had the same duties to 
perform and but few more. Amendment agreed to. 

The question recurring upon Mr. C's resolutions. 

Mr. SINGLETON said, that he regarded the proposition to 
appoint an assistant to report the conventional debates, as a most 
important one. He had heard remarks in regard to the expense 
of publishing these debates. Wishing, as much as any member, 
to avoid expense, he would not carry economy so far as to with- 
hold his support from a measure, which had for its object the 
enlightenment of the people in regard to our action in this body, 
and the provisions of the constitution which are to be submitted 
to them for ratification or rejection. By a report of our debates, 
said Mr. S., the people may learn something in relation to the 
motives by which we were influenced, and the ends we wish to 
accomplish in framing the organic law upon which they are 
to pass a final judgment. The volume will, it is true, contain a 
condensed, and perhaps a crude, report of our doings; yet it 
cannot fail to enlighten the people, and he believed that the 
people would consider the cost of the publication well repaid by 
the information they would gain by it. He knew not, neither did 
he care, what it might cost; he believed that it would not be more 
than their constituents would be willing to pay. He thought that 
opposition to it grew out of a penny saving policy and mere 
practical retrenchment, which it was not the duty of the Conven- 
tion to engage in. We have come here, said he, to unfold and 
apply new principles of government; and he desired to submit 
those principles to the people with all the light possible. He cared 
but little how it should be done, whether by the body itself or by 
the contribution of members. He was willing to pay for reporting 
and printing. He would by all means do so if it was to be done 



MONDAY, JUNE 14, 1847 13 

for the benefit of members; but he did not so regard it. It was 
for the benefit of the people that he urged its adoption. 

Mr. PALMER, of Marshall, could see no necessity for publish- 
ing an official report of the debates. There were gentlemen 
present, whose business was, as he understood, to report for the 
papers the speeches of members, and they would give all the 
important debates; the public can, from these, obtain all the in- 
formation desirable in relation to our proceedings. These, 
besides being published in the papers here, will be copied in other 
papers, and obtain a wide circulation. Thus it is apparent, that 
for us to publish them, would be incurring a useless expense. He 
knew that the congressional debates were sometimes published, 
but such a proposition was unheard of in Illinois. In our present 
pecuniary embarrassment, as a State, he regarded it as highly 
improper. It would be showing liberality before justice. Our 
debt is heavy: it will cost something to publish these debates, and 
by not doing it, we may save a little, at least. The globe is 
composed of particles, and our State debt is composed of dollars 
and cents. In the estimation of many, the odium of virtual 
repudiation rests upon us, which it is our duty to remove before 
we indulge in undue extravagance. Though we have but little 
or nothing to show for this debt, we still owe it; and before he 
left the stage of action, he wished to see some measures taken for 
its liquidation. In this view of things, he was unprepared to 
support the resolutions. 

Mr. KINNEY moved to amend the resolution so as to require 
members to pay for reporting their speeches; each member to pay 
in proportion to the number and length of his speeches. (Laughter.) 

Mr. K. made a few remarks, which, owing to confusion near 
the reporter, was [sic] not distinctly heard by him. 

Mr. WEAD was anxious to have the debates published. 
Allusion had been made to taxes. He thought that the expense 
of publishing these debates would not affect the payment of the 
public debt. A mill and a half on the dollar had been appro- 
priated for that object, and the appropriation for this will not 
diminish that amount. The only question is, whether it is a 
proper object, and whether the people will be willing to pay a 
reporter. He desired to have the costs estimated by a committee. 



74 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

It has been said that the debate will be published in the news- 
papers. He had no expectation that they would be published in 
the newspapers; and if they should be, members would hardly 
recognize them as their own. He desired to have them published 
officially, so that they might be transmitted to posterity in a 
reliable form. He scarcely knew of a Convention that had not 
published debates. It was, at the present day, the uniform 
practice. He regretted that the debates of the Conventions of 
other States were not accessible to the members of this Convention. 
They would be most serviceable in affording light and information 
to guide them in their deliberations. The people desire informa- 
tion in regard to the action of this Convention. Will it be pre- 
tended that they will be competent to judge without light? He 
who denies information will do them a wrong. It is a mistake to 
suppose that the people will not be willing to pay for it. They 
will not forego it for the sake of saving money, and he hoped it 
would be furnished in an authoritative form. The newspapers 
will not give it in an authentic shape. Every newspaper reporter 
is more or less influenced by political feelings and party bias, and 
if disposed to report erroneously, we have not the power to 
correct their misrepresentations. For these reasons he desired 
that an official reporter should be appointed, whom they could 
control. The expense will be but little. He had been informed 
that a reporter could be hired for the pay of a secretary, and the 
debates could be printed by the public printers. 

Mr. MINSHALL said, that he had never directed his attention 
particularly to the subject, but on referring to the law he had 
ascertained that the Convention had not the power to appoint an 
official reporter. It is true that gentlemen have adopted a 
different name for such an office, but he considered it but an 
evasion of the law. He thought they ought to be governed by 
the letter and spirit of the act of the General Assembly which 
provided for the call of the Convention. He concurred with 
gentlemen in the importance of having the debates published; but 
the Legislature had not authorized it, and they, not us, are re- 
sponsible for the omission. We have not, said he, the power to 
appropriate money for this purpose, and changing the name from 
reporter to secretary will not give it to us. 



MONDAY, JUNE 14, 1847 75 

Mr. SINGLETON proceeded to reply to Mr. M. He said 
that the gentleman was mistaken in his construction of the law. 
The secretary's business is to report the proceedings of the Con- 
vention, and this body may appoint another secretary to report 
the speeches, which, in fact, form a portion of the proceedings. 
He did not regard it as an evasion of the law; but — [Here the 
president called him to order, stating that under the rules, no 
member could speak twice to the same question when other mem- 
bers desired to speak.] 

Mr. DAVIS, of Massac, said, he would avail himself of the 
opportunity afforded him by the discussion on the resolutions now 
before the Convention, to express his views in relation to the 
election of an official reporter of the debates of this body, to 
correct a misreport of the remarks which he had the honor to 
submit to this assembly a few days since, on the resolution then 
pending, which had for its end, in part, the definition of the 
objects for which the Convention was called, and the extent of 
its powers. 

I think, sir, (said Mr. D.) that the debates of this Convention 
ought to be published and preserved for the use and benefit of the 
people of the State, and I am, therefore, willing to see a competent 
gentleman selected for the purpose, with reasonable compensation 
for his services, to be paid out of the State treasury, in pursuance 
of law; or, if gentlemen can be induced to do so, to be paid by the 
members themselves, out of their per diem allowance. The 
reasons for the publication of these debates are so numerous and 
weighty, and have been so fully stated by gentlemen who have 
preceded me, that I shall not attempt to adduce any in addition, 
or to urge by other arguments those which have already been 
submitted to the Convention, concluding, as I do, that enough 
has been said by others to convince the members of the great 
importance of the report and publication. 

It was remarked by the member from Fulton, that the pub- 
lished reports of the speeches of members of this body, as found in 
the newspapers of this city, are very inaccurate and faulty, which 
must be the case while the reports continue to be taken down and 
published unofficially. I can myself bear testimony to the 
correctness of this statement; for, sir, in the report of the remarks 



76 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

which I had the honor to deliver to the Convention the other day, 
on the resolution before alluded to, I am misrepresented in a very- 
important particular. In that report I am made to say that "the 
act providing for the call of this Convention was both constitu- 
tional and proper." This I did not say, sir, but, on the contrary, 
I remarked, that I had opposed the act on constitutional grounds 
while it was before the Senate, of which body I was an humble 
member at the time of the passage of the law. I argued, however, 
that the Legislature possessed plenary power to make the appro- 
priations which they did make to pay the members of the Conven- 
tion, and the officers connected with it, and that it was highly 
proper to do so. I said, further, that this was a constitutional 
Convention, brought together in pursuance of the 7th article of 
the constitution, and, as such, limited within certain boundaries 
and to certain objects specified in the said 7th article." 

I said, sir, that the people were not here in their primary 
original capacity, but in the persons of their delegates, chosen 
under the constitution and in pursuance of its provisions. 

I hold it to be a fundamental axium [sic] in political science, 
that the people, as such, have a right to abolish government, and 
institute new forms for their better security and greater happiness. 
This is what I said, sir. 

Mr. CAMPBELL, of Jo Daviess, said, that he supposed when 
he offered the resolution under discussion, that its importance 
would be apparent to all, but he had discovered that, when any 
matter of this kind is proposed, the question of cost and expense 
is at once raised and so strongly urged as to render success almost 
hopeless. Now, sir, it is hard to believe that there is a member on 
this floor who does not appreciate the importance of employing 
an official reporter. Are not the debates of the constitutional 
conventions of other States eagerly sought after? They are, sir, 
and it is a matter of regret that we have not within our reach the 
debates that have taken place in similar conventions in our sister 
States, to aid and enlighten us — to suggest modes of procedure, 
forms, &c. If we seek the debates of the conventions of other 
States, will not ours also be sought for? The constitution that 
we are to adopt, will be presented to the people for their ratifica- 

"Seea«/e, 19. 



MONBAY, JUNE 14, 1847 77 

tion or rejection, and it is due to them, that the motives and in- 
fluences that have entered into its adoption by us, should go forth 
with it, to aid the people in forming an opinion in regard to its 
merits and value. Let them have the same light and the same 
means of forming their judgment that we have. If we do not 
appoint a reporter, they cannot know — they will have no means of 
ascertaining— the motives or influences which gave birth to the 
constitution we present to them. We cannot expect the public 
prints to give a full report of the debates which take place in this 
body. They have not room for them in their columns, and if 
they had, they would give no more than they choose. They are 
irresponsible and beyond our control. It is desirable that we 
have a reporter, to whose reports full faith and credit can be given, 
and if any member should be misrepresented he can have a remedy. 
Gentlemen have said that they have been mis-reported. Adopt 
this resolution and the evil they complain of will be obviated. 
We have no right to expect the public prints to be perfectly accu- 
rate. They do not feel that responsibility which would be felt by 
an official reporter, and if we wish for an authentic record of what 
is said here, we must make provision for it. 

Now, sir, a word in regard to the pay of the proposed officer. 
In framing the resolution, I used the term "secretary" instead of 
"reporter." We have a secretary to record our proceedings. Is 
there anything in the law of the Legislature prohibiting us to 
employ a secretary to record the speeches. They are as much a 
part of our proceedings as those acts which are generally distin- 
guished by the term "proceedings." A large majority of the 
people elected this Convention to alter and amend the constitu- 
tion; they solemnly declared that a revision was necessary, and 
appointed us to do the work. Did they not, I ask, as solemnly 
declare, that all the expenses attending it should be paid by the 
State? Did they not give us a virtual pledge, that they would 
pay the cost of carrying out the purposes of this Convention ? Let 
these debates go out to the people along with the constitution. 
Of what service would the debates of the Convention of 1818 not 
be to us now? Who will say that the published debates of this 
Convention would not, in after times, be regarded as invaluable 
in explaining clauses, sentences and articles which may be of 



78 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

doubtful construction? This consideration alone is sufficient to 
recommend this resolution to the favor of the Convention. 

He was willing to vote for the amendment of the gentleman 
from St. Clair (Mr. Kinney) if gentlemen were so much afraid to 
take money out of the treasury. He would himself contribute to 
have the debates printed, rather than have the project fail. He, 
however, thought that there was too much of retrenchment 
in the proposition for its supporters to vote for it themselves. He 
concluded by moving to lay Mr. Kinney's amendment on the 
table. 

Mr. KNOWLTON wanted to have a reporter elected, but he 
must take occasion to say that he loved consistency. Gentlemen 
were on one side for one purpose and on another for another. 
The other day gentlemen said we had no power beyond what the 
strict letter of the law had given us; now, they say we have power 
beyond that letter. He did not agree with them then, and he 
was glad to see them on his side now; but he hoped they would 
remain where they had got and be more consistent hereafter. 
We have come here for the purpose of being consistent — to send 
out a consistent document, free from party taint or bias. 

Gentlemen called the proposed officer a secretary, to secure 
his pay to him. He did not like anything indirect — liked to hear 
things called by their right names. He should vote for the officer 
because he believed the Convention had the power to elect him. 

Gentlemen had complained of being reported incorrectly. He 
had never noticed any misrepresentations, and he thought they 
were well enough reported. Great men are always complaining 
of being reported incorrectly. He had heard the same complaint 
from his boyhood. David Crockett said that he came near being 
ruined by the reporters. 

Mr. HAYES made an animated speech in favor of employing 
a reporter, to be paid by an appropriation by the next Legislature. 
He thought the Convention had no power to create such an officer 
and draw money to pay him out of the treasury. The lateness of 
the hour compels us to condense Mr. H.'s remarks. 

Mr. WEAD explained that he did not intend to accuse the 
reporters on the floor with intentionally misrepresenting members. 
He was aware that the duty was arduous — that they could give 



MONDAY, JUNE 14, 1847 79 

no more than a synopsis of speeches. He had noticed that 
the reports of the different papers did not agree, and this was 
the reason why an official reporter was required. He was willing 
to pay for it. 

Mr. SCATES said that it was his opinion that the Convention 
had not the power to make the treasury liable for the expense of 
employing a reporter. Allusion had been made to other States. 
So far as his information went, the debates in other States were 
published by private enterprise. We have reasons for economy; 
and he could not support the proposition. 

Mr. PETERS remarked to Mr. Scates, that the Missouri 
Convention had employed a reporter, and recommended the 
Legislature to pay him. 

Mr. SCATES. The gentleman is unfortunate in his example, 
for the acts of the Convention were rejected by the people — 
constitution and all. 

Mr. ROBBINS said, he could not vote for the proposition 
before the Convention. It asks this body to employ an additional 
secretary, to report the debates of the Convention, the speeches 
of the delegates, and that, sir, at the expense of the State. 

The law calling this Convention gives it no such power. It 
authorizes the employment of such secretaries as are necessary in 
the transaction of its legitimate business, and for no other pur- 
poses. Now, if the speeches of the delegates in this hall are 
the business transactions of this body, it is the duty of the secre- 
taries now employed to record them as such, in the journals of the 
Convention. If they are not the business of this body, it has no 
right to publish them, in any manner, at the expense of the State. 
But, why do gentlemen wish to publish these speeches? For 
whose good? They have told us it is for the good of the people 
of this State — to illuminate their minds, to enlighten them in the 
great principles that agitate this body, to acquaint them with the 
reasons that induce this Convention to propose the alterations 
and amendments they are going to offer to the people for their 
rejection or ratification, and thus produce a harmony in action of 
the convention and the vote of the people; and that otherwise the 
people would not approve of the amendments about to be offered 



8o ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

by this body. If this was all true, sir, it is impossible for the 
speeches to be reported, printed, bound, and circulated among the 
people in time to do any good. There is no probability that 
the Convention will be able to finish their business in time to 
present the alterations and amendments of the Constitution be- 
fore the first Monday in August next, and the law requires that the 
people shall vote for or against the amendments proposed, on 
the fourth Monday in October following. The labor of getting 
up such a book would be immense. I hold in my hand, sir, the 
reported debates of the North Carolina Convention of 1835. 
That Convention met on the 5th day of June, and adjourned on 
the loth day of the following month — not in session more than 
five weeks, and restricted, by law, to only nine propositions; and 
yet, sir, these debates make a volume of more than four hundred 
pages. Taking this for an example, what a volume would the 
speeches of this Convention make, in a session of at least two 
months, and with a range covering the whole Constitution of 
Illinois. Sir, it would be impossible to get up such a book, and 
to get it before the people, before the fourth Monday of October, 
the time required for the people to vote for or against the amend- 
ments. Besides, the expense would be entirely too great for the 
people to bear, in their present embarrassed circumstances. 
Nor do I think, sir, that these speeches would illuminate and edify 
the people as much as gentlemen seem to think they would. I 
have heard no better propositions on this floor for altering and 
amending the constitution, and no better arguments offered in 
support of those propositions, than I heard in the circle of my 
neighbors before I left home — in the workshop, in the store, in 
the groups of laborers collected to rest themselves in the shade. 
Our constituents are not behind us in this matter. They know 
how they want their constitution altered. They told us how to 
alter it before we came here, and so far as mine are concerned, 
they want us, with all reasonable expedition, to make those alter- 
ations and then come home. 

I am pleased with the gentlemen's speeches. — They have dis- 
played much talent and eloquence, and I should be glad to see 
them go before the world. But let them go by way of private 
enterprise, not at the expense of our impoverished State. But I 



MONDAY, JUNE 14, 1847 81 

do not think the community would regard them as having been 
very efficient in promoting the interests of this Convention. To 
show the estimation put on these speeches by the community, I 
will relate an anecdote of what happened in an adjoining county a 
few weeks since, as a delegate was taking leave of one of his con- 
stituents. "How long," said the old farmer, "do you expect to 
be gone to the Convention?" "I expect to be home by the first 
Monday of August next," was the answer. "How many lawyers 
are there in the Convention?" — "About forty," was the answer. 
"Forty lawyers in the Convention," said the old man; "then fare- 
well, I shall never see you any more!"]'* 

Messrs. Singleton, Kitchell and others made a few remarks, 
when 

Mr. PALMER, of Marshall, moved the indefinite postpone- 
ment of the subject, which was agreed to. 

The first two propositions of Mr. Campbell were referred to 
appropriate committees, and that relating to the reporter only 
was postponed. 

Adjourned. 

'^Robbins' speech in detail has been inserted from the weekly Illinois 
State Register, June 18, in place of the tri-weekly's notice that " Mr. Robbins 
made a humorous speech against employing a reporter, which we have not 
time to give in this day's paper." 



VII. TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 1847 

Mr. FARWELL presented the petition of sundry citizens for a 
provision in the constitution providing for the appointment of a 
State superintendent of public instruction. Referred to the 
Education committee. 

Mr. THORNTON presented the petition of sundry citizens 
of Shelby county, on various subjects, which was referred to the 
committee on Miscellaneous Subjects. 

Mr. MARKLEY moved to take up his motion made yesterday, 
to re-consider Mr. Dement's resolution in relation to the mode of 
proceeding in the business of the Convention. The motion 
carried, the vote was re-considered, and the resolution was laid 
on the table till the first day of January next. 

Mr. JENKINS moved to take up certain resolutions offered 
by him some days since, which was agreed to; and the question 
being upon referring the resolutions to the appropriate committees, 
a debate arose on the best mode of taking up the various proposi- 
tions submitted. Mr. Dement thought that the order of business, 
as it now existed, would retard the business. Messrs. Brockman, 
Davis of McLean, Jenkins, and Loudon, insisted that the rights 
of members to bring forward their propositions would be con- 
siderably abridged by the mode of proceeding for which Mr. 
Dement contended. The previous question was here ordered, 
and the resolutions were referred. 

Mr. JENKINS moved to take up the resolution offered by him 
on the nth inst., which was done, and the resolutions were re- 
ferred to the appropriate committees. 

Mr. DAVIS, of McLean, offered a resolution that the Judiciary 
committee be instructed to inquire into the expediency of organ- 
izing the judiciary on a basis, the substance of which is as follows: 

A supreme court, composed of three members, having appellate 
jurisdiction only, to be chosen in separate districts by the qualified 
voters thereof, for nine years, one to be elected every third year: 
after the expiration of three terms under such classification, their 



TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 1847 83 

term to be nine years. Salary $1,200. Re-eligible, but incapable 
of holding any other office during term and for two years after its 
expiration. Clerk to be chosen by voters of State at large, for a 
term of three years. The State to be divided into blank number 
of circuits — ^judge in each circuit elected by people, for six years. 
Salary $1000. To hold no office during term, or two years after 
its expiration. Said courts to have probate jurisdiction. Clerks 
to be elected by the people for three years, who shall be ex officio 
recorders of deeds. Circuit attorneys elected by people in each 
circuit. Salary $300. Election of judges to be holden at different 
times from the election of State officers. 

Mr. CAMPBELL, of Jo Daviess, moved to amend, so that the 

State may be divided into judicial districts: one 

term to be annually held in each. Resolution and amendment 
referred to the Judiciary Committee. 

Mr. SMITH offered a resolution that the committee on 
Revenue be requested to inquire into the expediency of so amending 
the constitution as to prohibit the Legislature from pledging the 
faith of the State for a larger sum than $50,000, without first 
submitting the matter to the people: also, to inquire into the 
expediency of locating the seat of government. 

Mr. SHUMWAY offered a resolution that the Legislative 
committee inquire into the expediency of prohibiting any member 
of the Legislature from receiving, during his term, any civil 
appointment within the State, or to the Senate of the United 
States. 

Mr. CHURCH offered a resolution that the committee on the 
Bill of Rights be requested to inquire into the expediency of so 
amending the 6th article of the constitution, as to provide that 
there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in this 
State, otherwise than for the punishment of crimes whereof the 
party shall have been duly convicted; nor shall any person be 
deprived of liberty on account of color. 

Mr. KNAPP offered resolutions in substance, that the 
Governor shall be invested with the veto power; bills objected to 
by him to become laws if a majority subsequently vote for them. 
2d Resolution. That committees, when they report, do so in 
sectional form, omitting their reasons. 3d Resolution. That the 



84 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

committee on Elections be requested to inquire into the expediency 
of fixing a different day for the election of judges, from that for 
general officers. 

The resolutions were divided, and the two first passed. The 
last resolution was amended, on motion of Mr. Shumway, so 
as to request the Election committee to inquire into the expe- 
diency of prohibiting persons from voting who have bets on the 
election pending, and passed. 

Mr. DAVIS, of Montgomery, offered a resolution that the 
committee on Elections inquire into the expediency of so amending 
the constitution as to have all voting at elections by ballot. 

Mr. HURLBUT moved to amend so as to request the commit- 
tee to inquire into the expediency of so altering the 27th section 
of article 3, as to require that all electors shall be citizens of the 
United States. 

Mr. MARSHALL, of Mason, moved to amend so as to strike 
out all after the word "resolved," and insert, in substance, that 
the committee be instructed to inquire into the expediency of so 
amending, as to require voters to have lived in the State twelve 
months, and one month next preceding the election: Provided, 
that all foreigners in the State at the time the constitution is 
adopted shall be considered as electors. Resolution and amend- 
ments referred to the committee on Elections. 

Mr. DAVIS, of Massac, offered a resolution that the com- 
mittee on the Bill of Rights be instructed to inquire into the 
expediency of reporting an amendment, in substance, that persons 
accused of crime, shall be tried in the county or district where the 
crime is alleged to have been committed, which county or district 
shall have been previously ascertained by law, &c. 

Mr. DAWSON offered a resolution that the committee on the 
Organization of the Departments of State be instructed to inquire 
into the expediency of electing the Governor for three years: mem- 
bers of General Assembly to hold but one session of sixty days 
during Governor's term, at $1 per day, and $2 for every twenty 
miles' travel. 

Mr. CAMPBELL, of Jo Daviess, moved to strike out two 
dollars and insert three. Lost. Resolution adopted. 



TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 1847 85 

Mr. TURNER offered a resolution, that the Legislature 
inquire, &c, as to abolishing capital punishment. 

Mr. McCALLEN moved to strike out and insert so as to 
abolish capital punishment, and take away the pardoning power 
from the Governor where the punishment is death under the 
present constitution. Referred to committee on Law Reform. 

Mr. THORNTON offered a resolution that the committee on 
Law Reform be requested to inquire into the expediency of so 
amending the constitution, that testimony in courts of equity be 
taken in the same manner as in suits at law. Adopted. 

Mr. MOFFETT offered a resolution that after the first day 
of January, 1849, "o bank bill shall be passed in this State of 
a less denomination than twenty dollars, and, in the event of a 
bank being established in this State, it shall not issue any bill of 
a less denomination than twenty dollars. 

Mr. PRATT moved the following substitute: 

Resolved, That the committee on Incorporations be instructed 
to report such provisions as will effectually prohibit the power of 
the Legislature to create or authorize any individuals, company 
or corporation, with banking powers in this State. 

Resolved, That said committee inquire into and report to the 
Convention such provisions as are best calculated gradually to 
exclude from, and prohibit the circulation in this State, of bank 
bills under the denomination of twenty dollars. 

Mr. HURLBUT moved to amend by striking out the word 
"resolved," and inserting the following: 

"That the committee on Incorporations be instructed to 
inquire into the expediency of so amending and altering the 2ist 
section of article 8 of the constitution, as to provide for a system 
of general banking laws, similar in principle with the propositions 
lately adopted in the State of New York." 

Mr. MARKLEY moved to lay the amendment ofMr. Hurlbut 
on the table. 

Mr. DAVIS, of McLean, called for the yeas and nays. 

Mr. MARKLEY modified his motion so as to lay on the table 
to a day certain. 

Mr. DAVIS, of Bond, said that the amendment was a resolu- 
tion of inquiry and that he should not vote against a resolution of 



86 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

inquiry. When the question as to creating banks in this State 
should arise, he would vote for a provision prohibiting them. He 
hoped the amendment would go to the committee. 

Mr. BALLINGALL said that it could not be concealed that 
there was a strong bank party in the Convention, and he was 
willing to have the test question upon banks taken at the present 
time. He hoped the motion would be modified so as to raise the 
issue. He believed that some members favorable to banks would 
receive such instructions from the constituents as would control 
their course, and he wished to know how the Convention was 
divided on the question at the present time. 

Mr. CAMPBELL, of M'Donough, moved to have the sections 
of the New York constitution, on the subject of banks, read; 
which was agreed to, and the sections were read. 

Mr. HURLBUT did not, when he offered the resolution, expect 
that it would evolve an issue on the absorbing question of banks, 
which he was aware was one of the most important that would 
probably engage the attention of the Convention; but if gentlemen 
were desirous of raising the question at the present time, he was 
ready to meet them. If they were anxious to take up this ques- 
tion, without any preparation, he would not object. If they feel 
strong enough to apply the rigid rules of party discipline, let them 
proceed. For his part he did not desire to draw party lines unless 
forced into it. He represented whigs and democrats and was 
determined to do justice to both. This question was one of 
absorbing interest to his constituents — they desired a sound 
currency, and, irrespective of party upon this, as well as other 
questions, he desired to consult their wishes and their interests. 
He did not, however, rise to discuss the merits of the question. 
He would infinitely prefer that the debate should be suffered to 
lie over to a future time; but, as he before remarked, if gentlemen 
wish to test the question now, he was ready to gratify them. It 
is a resolution of inquiry merely, which he had not expected 
would meet with opposition. 

Mr. GREGG said that the resolution offered by the gentleman 
from Boone was respectful in its terms, and courtesy required that 
it should go to the committee. It was merely a resolution of 
inquiry and he could not vote against its reference. 



TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 1847 87 

Mr. PALMER, of Marshall, also advocated its reference. 

Mr. SCATES was in favor of bringing the questions up at an 
early day of the session. Much interest in it was felt, as well by 
the people, as most of the members of the Convention. It had 
now assumed a shape in which it was debateable, and, for one, he 
was ready to engage in it. The time between the final adjourn- 
ment and the day appointed for the people to vote upon the 
constitution, will be so short as to preclude the people from 
obtaining the requisite information, to enable them to vote 
understandingly, unless the subject is taken up early. Yesterday, 
the resolutions of the gentleman from Jo Daviess, (Mr. Pratt,) 
to prohibit banking in any form, were before the Convention; 
now the question comes up in a different shape, viz: 
a proposition to adopt the features of the general banking law oi 
New York. He did not care how the question was presented so 
that the issue was made. He agreed fully with the gentleman 
from Boone, (Mr. Hurlbut,) that the question was one of the 
utmost importance, and he gave notice, that whenever it came 
to be acted upon, he should oppose and vote against banks in 
every form. He would make war upon them to the knife. He 
asked if gentlemen were prepared to let loose upon our State a 
flood of banks such as a constitution, like that of New York, 
would call into existence? The system is infinitely worse than 
the old system; for it opens a door to the creation of an endless 
number of banks. If one bank is mischievous, how much more 
so must a hundred be? Past experience has proved to us that in 
agricultural communities such institutions are a curse, and we 
have found that the small bills of the thousand and one banks in 
our country have materially retarded our prosperity. The first 
proposition that was presented, related to small bills. Now, 
every man must admit, that this description of circulating medium 
must drive specie out of circulation. If we prohibit the circulation 
of bank bills of a less denomination than twenty dollars, all busi- 
ness transactions and contracts of a less amount will be carried 
on in gold and silver. If we do not prohibit we must necessarily 
have an almost exclusive paper circulation. It was so in the 
section where he lived. Before the Ohio and Kentucky banks 
flooded his region with their ones and twos, specie was plenty, 



88 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

but now the metals had almost entirely disappeared. He was 
for driving small bills out of circulation.^* 

Gentlemen had expressed a willingness to vote for referring 
the substitute to a committee; but he saw no impropriety in 
discussing it before it was sent to the committee, if it was to be 
sent at all. — We cannot expect the committee to report in such 
a manner as to meet the views of the Convention, unless full 
discussion is had in advance. He desired that the committee 
should enter upon their deliberations with all the light which a 
debate in this body could elicit. 

He had often heard of well regulated banks, but he never 
knew one of that character. We have had in this State experience 
enough on this subject to have learned that they are fraught with 
disaster and ruin. We have had six banks, every one of which 
failed, involving the people in losses which millions of dollars 
would not repair, and now a proposition is brought forward to 
repeat the experiment on a grand scale; to establish a bank in 
every town and village, and deluge the State with paper money. 
If we desire a valuable and reliable circulating medium, we must, 
as all experience shows, exclude bank paper entirely. 

He hoped that the discussion would proceed. 

Mr. CAMPBELL, of Jo Daviess, said, that he had, on a former 
occasion, expressed his views in favor of a full, free and candid 
interchange of sentiment upon every and all subjects that might 
arise in that body; and he would not interpose an obstacle to a 
respectful consideration of every proposition that gentlemen 
might deem proper to submit. The gentleman from Boone (Mr. 
Hurlbut) has offered a resolution, the subject of which he 
(Mr. H.) desired to have investigated by a committee. — He 
(Mr. C.) saw no impropriety in the reference. He would vote 
for referring it, and he hoped that the committee would give it 
their attention. All that the people want on the subject of 
banking is light. Let us have light, and those opposed to banks 
have nothing to fear. As for himself, he was prepared to oppose 
banks in any form when the question should be properly and 
fairly presented, even though their advocates might "steal the 

I'^On the question of banks and banking in Illinois, see Dowrie, The 
Development of Banking in Illinois. 



TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 1847 89 

livery of Heaven" to clothe them in. He hoped that the resolution 
would be permitted to go to the committee. 

Mr. JENKINS thought the merits of the question should be 
discussed in the committee of the whole, where every proposition 
relating to it could be considered. When the question should 
come up he would oppose the creation of banks in any form. As 
at present presented, he was not disposed to discuss the merits of 
the question. 

Mr. EDWARDS of SangamoVi, said, that if gentlemen opposed 
to banks could not be converted, discussion would be useless, and 
a decision of the question upon the test offered by the resolution 
of the gentleman from Boone (Mr. Hurlbut) would settle the 
matter. 

Mr. ARCHER was prepared to vote against banks in every 
form in which they could be presented, yet, out of courtesy, he 
was willing to give the resolution the direction which the gentle- 
man from Boone (Mr. Hurlbut) desired. If the question was 
pressed, he (Mr. A.) would vote to lay the resolution on the 
table; yet he deprecated any attempt to stifle debate. He was 
for discussing, fully, this, as well as every other question. He 
hoped the resolution would be referred to the committee, and 
when it should come up again in a proper form he would be 
prepared to record his vote against it. 

Mr. KINNEY of St. Clair, was also in favor of referring it to 
the committee. He hoped his honorable friend from Fulton 
(Mr. Markley) would withdraw his motion to lay on the table. 
Other propositions relative to banks had been referred to the 
committee, and he trusted that this would also be referred. 

Mr. KNAPP, of Scott, made some remarks against banks and 
banking, and urged the necessity of excluding the circulation of 
small notes." 

Without taking the question, the Convention adjourned till 
to-morrow morning. 

"Mr. Knapp later sent the following correction to the Illinois State 
Register, which published it in its issue of June 19, at the close of the June 
18 debates: "In your paper of Saturday you report me as having made 
some remarks against banks and banking, and as offering a resolution in 
favor of excluding from circulation small notes. Mi. Moffitt was the 
gentleman who made the remarks and offered the resolution." 



VIII. WEDNESDAY, JUNE i6, 1847 

Mr. ECCLES, from the Revenue committee, reported the 
following: 

Resolved, That the new constitution shall provide for a poll tax. 

Mr. ROUNTREE moved to amend by adding, "Provided, 
that the power to lay a capitation tax by the Legislature be pro- 
posed as a distinct proposition for adoption or rejection, by the 
people at the same time and places at which the vote shall be 
taken on the adoption or rejection of the new constitution, and 
if it shall appear that at said election, more votes are given in 
favor of said proposition than are given against it, the Legislature 
shall at its next session thereafter provide by law for levying such 
capitation tax, and continuing in force a law for the collection 
of a capitation tax: Provided, however, that non-payment of 
such tax shall not disqualify persons who are otherwise qualified 
voters from enjoying the right of election." 

Mr. SCATES opposed the levying of a poll tax. In supporting 
the government, respect should be had to justice. He thought 
that the principal [sic] of a poll tax was unjust. Its advocates con- 
tended, that all those receiving protection from government 
should render an equivalent for that protection. Why not then, 
tax females as well as males — they receive the same protection. 
Why not tax every class — Indians, negroes and every description 
of persons? It is idle to lay a tax when it cannot be collected. 
If you levy this tax, you must provide a means of collecting it, 
and that can be done only by issuing execution or by imposing 
the punishment of imprisonment for a failure to pay it. If you 
do not imprison, but merely resort to the ordinary civil remedy 
for the collection of debts, the proceeds of your poll tax will be 
absorbed in paying the costs of suits against delinquents. If 
imprisonment should be restarted to, is it expected that the public 
sentiment will sanction it? Is it proposed to withhold the elective 
franchise from such as have not their vouchers to prove that they 

90 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE i6, 1847 91 

have paid the tax? Such a denial of privilege is inconsistent with 
the principles of equality and the freedom of elections. 

It is a great mistake to suppose that the class who own no 
property do not bear a share of the public burthens. They do 
contribute to the support of the government and render an ample 
equivalent for the protection they receive from the laws and the 
institutions of government. They pay an onerous tax in the form 
of road labor, and this is a capitation tax amounting to from two 
to five dollars per annum. In addition to this they are liable to 
do military duty, and this is in its nature a poll tax. Is not this 
enough? Are they to be asked to pay fifty cents or a dollar more? 
In health they are willing to labor on the roads, and when their 
country calls, they are willing to engage in her service and march 
to the battle-field. They have been misrepresented by those who 
call them pensioners upon the bounty of the government. For 
his part he was opposed in principle to the scheme of easing the 
wealthy of such burthens of government as should properly rest 
upon them and transfer them to the poor. 

As he before said if the tax should be levied it cannot be 
collected. The government may assess it, but it will be optional 
with the class which it is intended to reach to pay it or not. In 
the slave states there is a greater reason for such a tax. There 
the white head and negro head pay alike, and the rich man pays a 
hundred dollars poll tax where the poor man pays one. Here it 
is proposed to make the poor pay equally with the wealthy. In 
the imposition of taxes, he was in favor of a just rule of apportion- 
ment, and he would not have the wealthy relieved to burthen the 
indigent. 

In what way is it expected that our debt is to be paid, but from 
our vast natural resources. Is it expected that it can be done by 
laying an assessment upon property? If it is proposed to raise a 
certain sum by means of this tax, let the same sum be raised by 
taxing property. This was what his constituents desired, not 
because they were unwilling to pay a poll tax, but because they 
believed such a tax unjust in principle. If the sum that is pro- 
posed to be raised by it, is all that is wanted, he could devise a 
wiser plan, viz: that of re-organizing the county governments so 



92 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

that they may be administered at half the present cost; thus 
leaving a large balance in the treasury. 

Mr. SMITH, of Macon, moved to amend the amendment by 
adding the following: 

Provided, That the Legislature in exercising this power be 
limited to the sum of fifty cents upon the persons of all able- 
bodied men, between the ages of twenty-one and forty-five years, 
and the power not to be exercised after the present public debt of 
the State shall have been liquidated. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery said, that he could not agree 
with the gentleman from Jefferson, (Mr. Scates,) who takes the 
ground that the proposed tax is wrong in principle. Every man 
owes something to the government from which he receives pro- 
tection — the man who owns no property as well as him who does — 
and as a patriot he should be willing to pay it. 

He was opposed to making the payment of the tax a pre- 
requisite to the right of suffrage. He would do nothing to limit 
that right. He believed that no coercion was necessary to 
collect the proposed tax, the people would pay it without com- 
pulsion. 

The gentleman from Jefferson says that the poor pay a road 
tax and are liable to do military duty. So do the rich. In 
representative governments where all are equal, and participate 
equally in the benefits of government, all ought to contribute to 
its support, in proportion to the benefits they receive; and he did 
not doubt that all would be willing to give a consideration for such 
benefits. 

He knew that the people of his region were in favor of the tax, 
and if imposed, he doubted not that they would pay it. If now 
and then one should refuse, be it so — he would not fail to be held 
up to the contempt of the community, which would prove a 
powerful incentive to a compliance with the provision. He 
(Mr. D.) would support the last amendment. 

Mr. WOODSON said, that his constituents were in favor of a 
poll tax. A vote was taken upon it at the election, and out of 
1500 or 1600 votes, not more (as Mr. W. was understood to 
say) than 150 were against the tax, and out of the 150, at least 
100 were property holders. This showed how the people of 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE j6, 1847 93 

Greene stood on this question, and he did not think they 
were more patriotic than the people of other counties. He 
believed that the whole people of the State, without regard to 
location, were in favor of the tax. If he believed with the gentle- 
man from Jefferson, (Mr. Scates) that the provision would be 
unequal, he would oppose it as strenuously as any member; but 
he thought it a just and equal tax. Will any man say that he, as 
an individual, is not as valuable as any other individual, though 
he may not be a property holder? All men, however humble, 
have a certain pride of character, and they would scorn the 
imputation of ranking in a lower grade than their fellow men. It 
is an error to suppose that, because a man is poor, he must be 
unwilling to contribute his just proportion to the support of the 
government. If a man is unable to pay the tax he would not 
exact it. All able-bodied men ought to pay it — the old and infirm 
and disabled might be excused. 

Gentlemen say that the effect of the tax will be to take the 
burthens of government from the poor and impose them upon 
the rich; but he did not regard it in that light. The rich, who 
already pay high taxes, will also pay a poll. No burthen is taken 
from them, but rather one added to those already resting upon 
them. 

He asked gentlemen to examine the question as patriots. 
Can they lay their hands upon their bosoms and justify them- 
selves in returning to their constituents, without having done 
something to relieve the State of the odium of repudiation and 
non-payment which rests upon it? Are they prepared to go home, 
leaving the State burthened with her enormous debt, without 
having made any provision for its ultimate liquidation. 

This proposition is not a novel one. In only two of the States 
is it prohibited. The constitution of all the other States either 
impose it or leave it open to the Legislature. Eight have provi- 
sions imposing it. Our constitution leaves it to the Legislature, 
yet it has not been levied. Politicians in the Legislature have 
had an eye more to popularity than the happiness, prosperity and 
glory of the State. It isjhigh time that a different system from 
this was established, and it is the duty of this Convention to put 
forth its power to establish it. 



94 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

This tax will yield a revenue of not l[e]ss than $100,000. 
There are in the State 126,000 persons liable to do military duty; 
and taking this as the data — which he thought was as correct as 
any — his estimate of the amount of revenue could not be much 
out of the way. 

The argument of the gentleman from Jefferson, that the tax 
cannot be collected, is no argument against the principle involved 
in the proposition. It is (said Mr. W.) our duty to impose 
the tax, and it will be that of the Legislature to devise the 
means of enforcing its collection. But he saw no difficulty in 
collecting it. He was not in favor of stringent measures, neither 
did he deem them necessary. He would not resort to imprison- 
ment, nor a restriction of the right of suffrage. The end might be 
attained by moral means. Moral suasion was more powerful 
than coercive enactments. That pride, which is inherent in 
human nature, will prompt the payment of this tax, if not from 
patriotic motives, at least, from that apprehension of being held 
up to the public scorn for delinquency. 

To say that the people of Illinois would not pay this tax, was 
an imputation upon that patriotic devotion to the honor of the 
State and the nation, which prompted her gallant sons to march 
forth shoulder to shoulder to meet the enemy of our common 
country. Will any one say that these heroic men, who redeemed 
the honor of the State upon the battle-fields of Buena Vista and 
Cerro Gordo, will not as readily step forward and maintain her 
character in the financial embarrassments in which she is involved? 
He believed that they would, with the same power and in the same 
manner, come up to the work until our State should be free from 
the load of debt which oppresses her. 

Mr. THOMAS moved to lay the amendments on the table. 
Carried. 

Mr. NORTON proposed the following amendment: 

"Provided, That no capitation tax shall be assessed against 

any person not entitled to vote under the constitution and laws 

of the State. And, provided, further, that said tax shall be set 

apart to the payment of the public debt, until the same be paid." 

Mr. HARVEY moved the following amendment: 

"That the 20th section of the 8th article of the present con- 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE /6, 1847 95 

stitution be omitted in the constitution, to be proposed for adop- 
tion by this Convention." 

Mr. H. conceived that this subject should be left to the 
discretion of the Legislature. The constitution about to be 
formed may not be changed for many years, and no unnecessary 
restraints should be imposed. He was opposed to a provision 
prohibiting the levying a poll tax, but disposed to leave the ques- 
tion open to future legislatures. 

Mr. WILLIAMS said that the Convention would make more 
satisfactory progress in business, by doing one thing at a time. 
He was of opinion that if the question were submitted to the 
people, they would provide for a poll tax, if so, this Convention 
ought, in reference to the public will. He thought that a direct 
vote should be taken, whether a poll tax is to be provided for or 
not; then we should know what we are to do. If the tax is to be 
levied, we can hereafter settle upon the best plan to pursue. If 
not, there is an end of the matter, and the Convention will not be 
disposed further to discuss it. 

Mr. NORTON said, that he was opposed to the levying of a 
capitation tax but the character of such a measure will depend 
much on the manner and form of its assessment. He desired the 
original resolution to pass, with his amendment. If no law is to 
be enacted to enforce the collection of this tax, such a provision 
would be mere advice — a subscription, depending on voluntary 
payment. The only two modes of enforcing collection would be 
by imprisonment or withholding the elective franchise. He was 
opposed to either of these, and could not consent in any degree 
to sanction the imposition of degrading penalties upon citizens, 
because they might be too poor to pay the tax. The poor are 
the men to fight our battles, work our roads, sit on juries — the 
men who have carried the banner of their country to the battle- 
field, and conferred immortal honor on their State, at Beuna 
Vista and Cerro Gordo. To tax these men, and deprive them of 
the common rights of citizenship, on account of their inability to 
pay, is unfair, unequal and unjust. 

Mr. DAVIS, of Massac, craved the indulgence of the Conven- 
tion, feeling it due to himself to express his views on the subject. 
He replied to the argument of Mr. Scates, and denied that the 



96 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

levying a poll-tax was unjust in its operation. It would be 
difficult to prove the correctness of such a position in a country 
like this, where every citizen enjoys the protection of the govern- 
ment, and participates in public affairs to an equal extent. He 
thought men who had displayed such patriotism as has been dis- 
played by our people within the last year, will not shrink from so 
trifling a tax, which is necessary to save the credit of the State. 
He believed that at no time in our history, from the time when 
our fathers achieved the independence of their country at York- 
town, down to this time, have our people been wanting in that 
patriotism, which has enabled them, and will enable us, to meet 
every sacrifice required to advance the public good. 

He could see no injustice in the proposition. If one man, by 
industry and frugality, acquires property, and another, in con- 
sequence of his indolence and vicious habits, remains poor, is 
there a reason why one should be burdened and the other released 
from all contribution for the support of the government, the 
protection and blessings of which they equally share? During 
the canvass for his seat in this body, he was often interrogated by 
both rich and poor, as to his opinions on this point, and he found 
few, very few indeed, who were not earnest in their desire that this 
provision, or one like it, should be incorporated in the new consti- 
tution. — Such a principle is incorporated in the constitution of 
every State, save two. Virginia, the great republican leader of 
States, which has given to the nation so many great men — the 
mother of Presidents, has stood in the front rank, and by the 
adoption of such measures as were necessary to preserve the 
public credit, has set an example which he hoped Illinois would 
follow. Could this measure be proved unjust and oppressive, he 
would oppose it; but believing it in accordance with principles of 
enlightened public policy, he approved it, and believed the whole 
country to be with him. 

Mr. CHURCHILL said, that he was opposed to taking 
advantage of the generosity of the poor, to pay the State debt. 
He believed that for property protection, the rich were only 
benifitted, [sic] while for personal protection, the rich andpoorwere 
equal, therefore, he was opposed to the poll-tax. He would have 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE i6, 1847 97 

proposed an amendment, but the state of the question prevented, 
therefore, he would read it for the benefit of the house. 

Resolved, That the committee on Revenue be instructed to 
ascertain the number of males over twenty-one years of age, in 
the State, and report a resolution to this Convention proposing 
to increase the revenue of this State, by a sum in dollars, equal to 
the number of white male inhabitants over the age of twenty-one 
years, by a direct tax on property. 

Mr. KNOWLTON was in favor of the resolution, as it came 
from the committee, and proposed to dispose of the amendments, 
and let the vote be taken on the original proposition. His con- 
stituents were in favor of a poll-tax. He referred to the example 
of Massachusetts, which had a poll-tax of $1.50 each, the right 
of voting being withdrawn, on failure to pay. He always found 
the poor more prompt than the rich, in the payment of this tax. 
He believed that no citizen in Illinois was too poor to pay such a 
tax, and that the poor would, as they do in Massachusetts, feel a 
pride in paying this tax which would serve the end proposed. 
Mr. K. spoke eloquently of the patriotism of our people — their 
State pride; the determination of all to sustain the honor and 
credit of the State — as evinced in the patience with which they 
have submitted to every necessary exaction, and rushed forth, at 
the call of their country, to fight her battles, and sacrifice their 
lives in defence of her honor. 

Mr. SINGLETON was also in favor of the original proposition. 
It was a simple one, and involved in it no difficulty; and should 
be settled at once. He was in favor of a poll tax, and knew 
that his constituents desired its imposition. He deprecated the 
dragging into this discussion the poor, the women and children. 
All men are originally poor; all equal. This equality is in a great 
measure destroyed by misdirected legislation and the customs of 
society. The object of the provision is to increase revenue. 
Property holders were willing to pay, not only on their property, 
but on their persons also, in the same manner as the poor. Let 
property pay — let tnen, each separately, without confounding the 
distinction which should exist between persons and property. He 
believed that this measure would embarrass none — that young 
men would cheerfully pay it. And there is a large class of men. 



98 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

worthless in property and character, who are active in elections; 
who enjoy the elective franchise; who are under the control of 
politicians. Impose this tax upon such, and, though they pay 
none now, their taxes will be paid, if not by them, by those desiring 
the benefit of their votes. He believed with the gentleman from 
Massac, that three-fourths of the people are in favor of it. He 
wished the decisive vote to be taken on the original proposition, 
leaving the details to future action. 

The discussion was continued with much animation by Messrs. 
Thompson, Allen and Loudon, when the Convention adjourned 
till three o'clock this afternoon. 

AFTERNOON 

Mr. ARCHER made a forcible speech of some length against 
the tax, which we are compelled to condense. He said that in 
the county where he resided the people were opposed to the prin- 
ciple of a poll-tax. They thought that property constituted the 
just basis of taxation. It is true that government is instituted 
for the protection of life, liberty and property, and that all ought 
to assist in supporting it according to their ability, and he insisted 
that the poor contributed largely to it by paying a road tax, doing 
militia duty and juror's duty. As regards these taxes, the poor 
stand on the same footing with the rich — they pay and perform 
as much. He would not add a poll-tax. 

Again, he would not enact a law which was not accompanied 
with proper penalties for enforcing an observance of its behests. 
If the payment of a poll tax is attempted to be coerced by taking 
away the elective franchise or by imprisonment, the people would 
revolt. He asked if the poor man was a fit subject for imprison- 
ment? Should he be deprived of his right of suffrage? Any man 
who would propose it would be doomed to private life for the 
residue of his days. 

Mr. A. here proceeded to show that our State debt, for the 
payment of which this poll tax was devised, was created by a 
class of speculators who expected to be benefited by the applica- 
tion of the money so borrowed, and that the poor had no part in 
its creation, neither would they have been benefited materially 
had the most sanguine expectations of the internal improvement 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE j6, 1847 99 

schemers been realized. We regret that we cannot give all of 
Mr. A.'s sound and interesting remarks on this head. We may 
do so hereafter. 

Mr. PETERS addressed the Convention in favor of a poll tax. 
He thought it just. The object of government is two fold; the 
protection of persons and property. He asked if property should 
alone support the government, whilst persons went free. There 
is property in the free air of heaven, and those who breathe it 
ought to pay a tax when it is the air of freedom. He did not see 
any justice in throwing the whole burthen of supporting the 
government upon one class, whilst another enjoyed an immunity 
from all burthens. Persons without property have access to the 
courts of justice and participate in the blessings of government, 
why, then, he asked, should they not be made to bear part of the 
public burthens growing out of it. 

Mr. P. advocated the tax, leaving it to the Legislature to 
enforce its collection. 

Gentlemen say that if limiting the right to vote is resorted to, 
it will induce candidates to bribe the voters. This was in his 
judgment a lame argument. If it is so easy to bribe, could it not 
now be done at the polls by handing fifty cents to a voter. 

He did not believe that penalties of any kind were necessary. 
The people had too much pride to refuse to pay the tax. 

Mr. HAYES made a very animated speech in favor of the 
tax, which we have in manuscript and may publish it when we 
get more space. It was worthy of his distinguished talents. 

Mr. GEDDES made a few remarks in favor of the tax. He 
said that in the course of the debate gentlemen had said that the 
people were already taxed four or five dollars in road taxes, 
yet they said that these same people could not be made to pay a 
tax of one dollar. They can be forced to pay five dollars but 
they cannot be forced to pay one dollar. Mr. G. proceeded to 
show that assertions that had been made on the subject of mili- 
tary duty were incorrect. He said that no military duty was 
exacted of any citizen in the State. We must defer the rest of 
Mr. G.'s remarks for want of space. 

The debate was continued by Messrs. M'CALLEN,CAMPBELLof Jo 
Daviess, and PALMERof Macoupin, when the Convention adjourned. 



IX. THURSDAY, JUNE 17, 1847 

Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Hale. 

Mr. BLAIR, a delegate from Pike, appeared, presented his 
credentials, and was qualified. 

The question before the Convention being the amendments 
offered by the gentlemen from Will and Knox, the Chair 
stated that the amendment of the gentleman from Knox was then 
out of order, and it was withdrawn. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery stated, that upon consultation 
with some of the friends of the poll-tax they had concluded to 
move that the amendment now before the Convention should be 
laid on the table, which motion he would make before he took his 
seat. He would do so with a view to present the following, as 
a substitute for the original proposition: strike out all after the 
word "resolved" and insert "that the committee on Revenue be, 
and are hereby, instructed to report an amendment to the consti- 
tution so as to authorize the Legislature to levy a capitation tax, 
not to exceed one dollar, on all free white male inhabitants over 
the age of twenty-one years, when they shall deem it necessary." 

He was in favor of this plan, because it left the subject of a 
poll-tax to the people. Gentlemen objected to a poll-tax because 
the people could not at any time change it. This proposed sub- 
stitute would enable the people at any time to instruct their 
representatives to change or abolish the tax. He moved to lay 
the amendment of the gentleman from Will on the table; which 
was carried. 

The question then recurring on the amendment, it was decided 
in the affirmative — yeas 87. 

Mr. POWERS offered an amendment providing that no road 
tax should hereafter be levied in the form of a capitation tax. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery moved to lay it on the table. 
Carried. 

Mr. WORCESTER offered a substitute, which the Chair 
ruled out of order. 



THURSDAY, JUNE 17, 1847 loi 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery moved the previous question, 
which was seconded; and the question being taken on the adoption 
of the resolution, by yeas and nays, it was decided in the affirma- 
tive—yeas 108, nays 49. 

The following resolutions, offered some days ago, by Mr. 
Pratt, together with the amendment, proposed by Mr. 
HuRLBUT, thereto, came up: 

Resolved, That the committee on Incorporations be instructed 
to report such provisions as will effectually prohibit the power of 
the Legislature to create or authorize any individuals, company 
or corporation, with banking powers in this State. 

Resolved, That said committee inquire into and report to the 
Convention such provisions as are best calculated gradually to 
exclude from, and prohibit the circulation in this State, of bank 
bills under the denomination of twenty dollars. 

Mr. Hurlbut's amendment: 

"That the committee on Incorporations be instructed to 
inquire into the expediency of so amending and altering the 21st 
section of article 8 of the constitution, as to provide for a system 
of general banking laws, similar in principle with the propositions 
lately adopted in the State of New York." 

The question being on the adoption of the amendment, 

Mr. CHURCHILL moved to lay the whole matter on the 
table. 

Mr. MARKLEY asked a division upon laying the amendment 
on the table, and the vote being taken by yeas and nays, resulted 
as follows: 

YEAS — Akin, Allen, Anderson, Archer, Armstrong, Atherton, 
Blair, Blakely, Ballingall, Brockman, Bond, Bosbyshell, Brown, 
Bunsen, Butler, Grain, Caldwell, Campbell of Jo Daviess, Carter, 
F. S. Casey, Zadoc Casey, Choate, Cross of Woodford, Cloud, 
Dale, Davis of Bond, Davis of Massac, Dawson, Dement, Dunn, 
Dunsmore, Eccles, Evey, Farwell, Frick, Green of Clay, Green of 
Jo Daviess, Hatch, Hawley, Hayes, Heacock, Henderson, Hill, 
Hoes, Hogue, Hunsaker, James, Jenkins, Jones, Knapp of Scott, 
Kreider, Kinney of Bureau, Kinney of St. Clair, Lasater, Laughlin, 
Lenley, Logan, Loudon, McCallen, McCuUy, McClure, McHatton, 
Manly, Markley, Mason, MofFett, Moore, Morris, Nichols, Oliver, 



I02 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Pace, Palmer of Macoupin, Palmer of Marshall, Pratt, Peters, 
Powers, Robbins, Robinson, Roman, Rountree, Scates, Sharpe, 
Stadden, Shields, Sherman, Sim, Simpson, Smith of Gallatin, 
Shumway, Thompson, Trower, Tutt, Vernor, Wead, Webber, 
West, Williams, Witt, Whiteside.— 99. 

NAYS — Adams, Canady, Campbell of McDonough, Cross of 
Winnebago, Church, Churchill, Davis of McLean, Deitz, Dummer, 
Dunlap, Edwards of Madison, Edwards of Sangamon, Edmonson, 
Graham, Geddes, Green of Tazewell, Grimshaw, Harding, Harlan, 
Harper, Harvey, Hay, Holmes, Hurlbut, Huston, Jackson, Judd, 
Knapp of Jersey, Kenner, Kitchell, Knowlton, Knox, Lander, 
Lemon, Lockwood, Marshall of Coles, Marshall of Mason, 
Matheny,Mieure, Miller, Minshall, Northcott, Norton, Pinckney, 
Rives, Swan, Spencer, Servant, Sibley, Singleton, Smith of Macon, 
Thomas, Thornton, TurnbuU, Turner, Tuttle, Vance, Whitney, 
Woodson, Worcester. — 60. 

The question then recurring upon laying the original resolu- 
tions on the table; when a division on the first of them was de- 
manded, and the vote was taken. 

Mr. Shumway, Mr. Manly and others expressed themselves 
most emphatically opposed to banks in any shape whatever, 
yet they deemed a prohibitory clause in the constitution impractic- 
able, they therefore voted to lay the instructions on the table. 

Several gentlemen having expressed themselves as having 
voted under a misapprehension of the question and desirous to 
change their votes, 

Mr. CALDWELL moved that the vote be retaken; which 
motion was carried. And the yeas and nays being again called 
resulted as follows: 

YEAS — Adams, Anderson, Atherton, Blakely, Butler, Canady, 
Campbell of McDonough, Choate, Cross of Winnebago, Cloud, 
Church, Churchill, Davis of McLean, Dawson, Deitz, Dummer, 
Dunlap, Dunn, Dunsmore, Edwards of Madison, Edwards of 
Sangamon, Eccles, Edmonson, Evey, Frick, Graham, Geddes, 
Green of Clay, Green of Jo Daviess, Green of Tazewell, Grimshaw, 
Harding, Harlan, Harper, Harvey, Hatch, Hawley, Hay, Heacock, 
Henderson, Hill, Holmes, Hurlbut, Huston, Jackson, Judd, Knapp 
of Jersey, Knapp of Scott, Kenner, Kinney of Bureau, Kitchell, 



THURSDAY, JUNE 17, 1847 103 

Knowlton, Knox, Lander, Lemon, Lockwood, Logan, Loudon, 
McCallen, McClure, McHatton, Manly, Marshall of Coles, 
Marshall of Mason, Mason, Matheny, Mieure, Miller, 
Minshall, MofFet, Moore, Morris, Northcott, Norton, Palmer of 
Marshall, Peters, Pinckney, Rives, Robbins, Robinson, Swan, 
Spencer, Sherman, Servant, Sibley, Singleton, Smith of Macon, 
Shumway, Thomas, Thornton, Trower, TurnbuU, Turner, Tutt, 
Tuttle, Vance, Webber, West, Williams, Whitney, Woodson, 
Worcester. — 102. 

NAYS — Akin, Allen, Archer, Armstrong, Blair, Ballingall, 
Brockman, Bond, Bosbyshell, Brown, Bunsen, Grain, Caldwell, 
Campbell of Jo Daviess, Carter, F. S. Casey, Zadoc Casey, Colby, 
Constable, Cross of Woodford, Dale, Davis of Bond, Davis of 
Massac, Dement, Farwell, Hayes, Hoes, Hogue, Hunsaker, James, 
Jenkins, Jones, Kreider, Kinney of St. Clair, Lasater, Laughlin, 
Lenley, McCully, Markley, Nichols, Oliver, Pace, Palmer of 
Macoupin, Pratt, Powers, Roman, Rountree, Scates, Stadden, 
Shields, Sim, Simpson, Smith of Gallatin, Thompson, Vernor, 
Wead, Witt, Whiteside.— 58. 

Mr. LOGAN said (when his name was called), that as other 
gentlemen had defined their position, he would do so also. If we 
were to have a bad system of banking or no banks presented to us, 
he would prefer to vote for no bank; for the present he would vote 
to lay this proposition on the table. 

The question then recurred on the motion to lay the first of 
the resolutions on the table. 

Mr. HARVEY appealed to the maker of the motion to with- 
draw it for a few moments, and it was withdrawn. Mr. H. then 
said, that the resolutions before them instructed the committee 
on Incorporations to report some mode of prohibiting the circula- 
. tion of bank notes within the State, and he hoped it would not be 
laid on the table at present, but discussed. He made this remark 
at the suggestion of the committee. He understood that there 
was a great difference of opinion in the Convention, as regarded 
the proper mode of excluding paper from circulation, and he hoped 
the question would be discussed. And, inasmuch as there were 
several propositions of this nature before the Convention, some 
of them going so far as to make all contracts and transactions 



I04 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

based upon bank notes void, he hoped the Convention would 
decide upon the matter before it came before the committee. 

The yeas and nays were then called, and resulted as follows : 

YEAS — Adams, Anderson, Atherton, Blair, Blakely, Butler, 
Canady, Colby, Cross of Winnebago, Church, Churchill, 
Davis of Montgomery, Davis of McLean, Dawson, Deitz, Dummer, 
Dunlap, Dunsmore, Edwards of Madison, Edwards of 
Sangamon, Eccles, Evey, Frick, Graham, Geddes, Green of Clay, 
Green of Jo Daviess, Green of Tazewell, Grimshaw, Harding, 
Harlan, Harper, Harvey, Hatch, Hawley, Hay, Heacock, Hill, 
Hogue, Holmes, Hunsaker, Hurlbut, Jackson, James, Jones, Judd, 
Knapp of Jersey, Knapp of Scott, Kenner, Kinney of Bureau, 
Kitchell, Knowlton, Knox, Lander, Laughlin, Lemon, Lockwood, 
Logan, Loudon, McCallen, McClure, Manly, Marshall of Coles, 
Marshall of Mason, Mason, Matheny, Mieure, Movia, Nichols, 
Northcott, Norton, Palmer of Marshall, Peters, Pinckney, Powers, 
Rives, Robbins, Robinson, Rountree, Swan, Spencer, Sherman, 
Servant, Sibley, Sim, Simpson, Singleton, Smith of Macon, 
Thomas, Thornton, Trower, Turnbull, Turner, Tuttle, Vance, 
Webber, West, Williams, Whitney, Woodson, Worcester. — loi. 

NAYS — Akin, Allen, Archer, Armstrong, Ballingall, Brockman, 
Bond, Bosbyshell, Brown, Bunsen, Crain, Caldwell, Campbell of 
Jo Daviess, Campbell of McDonough, Carter, F. S. Casey, Zadoc 
Casey, Choate, Constable, Cross of Woodford, Cloud, Dale, Davis 
of Massac, Dement, Dunn, Edmonson, Gregg, Hayes, Henderson, 
Hoes, Huston, Jenkins, Kreider, Kinney of St. Clair, Lasater, 
Lenley, McCully, McHatton, Markley, Miller, Minshall, MofFett, 
Moore, Oliver, Pace, Palmer of Macoupin, Pratt, Roman, Scates, 
Stadden, Shields, Smith of Gallatin, Shumway, Thompson, Tutt, 
Vernor, Wead, Witt, Whiteside.— 58. 

The resolutions were then withdrawn. 

Mr. ROBBINS presented a petition from citizens of Randolph, 
praying a constitutional provision exempting from execution a 
homestead of 160 acres of land, and moved to refer it to a select 
committee of five. 

Mr. SCATES moved to refer it to [the] committee on Law Re- 
form. Carried. 

Mr. JONES presented a petition from Perry county, praying 



THURSDAY, JUNE 17, 1847 105 

equal rights and privileges to all persons, without distinction of 
color, and moved its reference to the committee on Elections and 
Right of Suffrage. 

Mr. J. said, it was well known by these petitioners, as well as 
all others who are acquainted with my sentiments upon this 
subject, that I am opposed to the principal object sought to be 
affected by this petition. Nevertheless it comes from a highly 
respectable portion of our fellow-citizens — mostly, I believe, from 
the moral and intelligent denomination of christians called 
Covenanters. — They have a right to make their sentiments known 
in this body, and it is our duty to receive their petitions and treat 
them with respectful consideration. 

Mr. SINGLETON moved that it be laid on the table till 
December next, one year. He extended the time for fear that we 
might overtake the matter. 

Mr. WHITNEY trusted that the petition would be treated 
respectfully, and he hoped no such course would be pursued as 
that contemplated by the motion of the gentleman from Brown. 

Mr. CHURCH thought that in the petition were presented 
some principles that would have to come before the Convention 
at some time, and he hoped the petition would be treated respect- 
fully and referred. 

Mr. PINCKNEY said, he was no abolitionist. That party 
he had always opposed, and they opposed him. They had tried to 
prevent his being here in the Convention. Yet he was willing 
to treat them with all respect. There were reasonable abolition- 
ists, and they were as much entitled to be heard as any other 
reasonable men. 

He was opposed to all gag laws, and was willing to hear the 
petitions, sentiments and views of every one. If that party could 
convince him that such a provision as that prayed for should be 
in our constitution he would vote for it. Gentlemen expected 
him to be and he was open to conviction on other subjects, 
and why not upon this. 

Mr. KINNEY moved to lay the petition on the table. 

Mr. LOGAN said, he supposed that a man might vote for a 
reference of this petition to a committee without being called an 
abolitionist. He had never had that name applied to him, and 



io6 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

he did not care if it should be. He would further say, that if you 
wanted to have an abolition party in this State, the best way to 
commence was by treating them disrespectfully. 

The yeas and nays were demanded and they stood yeas 48, 
nays no. 

The petition was then referred to the committee on Elections 
and Right of Suffrage. 

Mr. SCATES, from the committee on the Judic[i]ary, in 
obedience to the direction of that committee, reported to the 
Convention a resolution calling upon the clerk of the Supreme 
Court to inform said committee of the number of cases tried at 
each term of said court since 1840, and the number now pending 
and undecided; which resolution was adopted. 

Mr. SHERMAN, from the committee on Finance, reported 
back a resolution that had been referred to it, in relation to the 
levying a tax on gold watches, jewelry, &c., and the appropriation 
thereof, together with all moneys arising from fines, to the school 
fund, and asked to be discharged from the further consideration 
thereof. 

Mr. DAWSON moved that the resolution be referred to the 
committee on Education. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery made some remarks explanatory 
of the reasons why the committee had so reported, and 

Mr. MARKLEY moved to lay the resolution on the table. 
Carried. 

Mr. SCATES, from the Judiciary committee, reported back 
to the Convention the resolution which had been referred to it in 
relation to the election of sheriffs, &c., and recommended its 
rejection. The committee instructed him to do so, because they 
considered that the subject properly belonged to another committee. 
The report was concurred in. 

Mr. SCATES, from the same committee, also reported back 
the resolution in relation to the abolition of the county commis- 
sioners' court, and asked to be discharged from the further con- 
sideration of the subject. The committee gave as the reasons of 
the report, that the subject matter of the resolution properly 
belonged to another committee. 



THURSDAY, JUNE 17, 1847 107 

Mr. CONSTABLE inquired of the chairman of the committee 
what committee it was deemed more proper to send this subject to? 

Mr. SCATES. The committee on County Organizations. 

Mr. CONSTABLE still thought that the Judiciary committee 
was the proper committee to inquire into the propriety of abolish- 
ing a court. 

Mr. SCATES said, he would add that the committee had 
further instructed him to recommend the repeal of the 4th section 
of the schedule to the constitution. 

Mr. LOGAN said, he was not present in the committee when 
they agreed upon the report just made, but he would have been 
in favor of it. He thought the abolition of the county commis- 
sioners' court was not in the scope of the Judiciary committee's 
duties. The court was not a court, except in name. It had no 
power to try an action, or jurisdiction of a case of five dollars. 
No indictments could be found; no other jurisdiction properly 
belonging to a court was given to it. It was nothing more than a 
mere fiscal agent of the county — opening and laying out roads, 
collecting and distributing the revenue; these were its only powers. 
Unless it was a court with judicial power, cognizance and capacity, 
he could not suppose its abolition was a proper subject for the 
Judiciary committee. 

As regarded the abolition of this court, his personal opinion and 
feelings would be to retain it; but he was apprised that his con- 
stituents thought differently and he would represent them. 

Mr. CONSTABLE said, that he had the greatest respect for 
what the gentleman from Sangamon chose to express on any 
question, but he must differ from him. In his opinion the county 
commissioners' court was as much a court as the circuit court. 
If that court was not a court, under what power did they issue 
writs of ad quod damnum? In all cases where the county was a 
party, that court was the first place where the subject was heard; 
and from its decisions an appeal could be taken to the circuit 
and supreme courts. He hoped, that in order that there might 
be no collision or jarring between the actions of the committees in 
relation to this matter, one committee might manage the whole 
judicial affairs. He could not see how the abolition of this court 
was the legitimate business of the committee on the Organization 



io8 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

of Counties, unless the court be abolished, and then they 
might, the county having no organization, propose some system. 
After some further remarks from Mr. C, and from Mr. Minshall 
in reply, 

Mr. CALDWELL asked the chairman of the committee on 
the Judiciary, if his committee intended to take into consideration 
any provision for the future judicial affairs of the counties. 

Mr. SCATES was understood to reply in the affirmative. 

The report of the committee and the resolution were laid on 
the table. 

Mr. SCATES, from the same committee, made a report, 
asking to be discharged from the further consideration of the 
resolution in relation to the establishment of tribunals for arbi- 
tration. The committee gave as a reason therefor, that there 
were, at present, laws in force creating such tribunals. The report 
was agreed to, and the resolution laid on the table. 

Mr. SCATES made a report from the same committee, upon 
another resolution, asking to be discharged from the further con- 
sideration thereof; which was agreed to. 

Mr. CALDWELL moved that the resolution be referred to 
the committee on Rights. Agreed to. 

Mr. ROUNTREE moved to take up some resolutions, offered 
by him some days ago, and refer them to the committee on the 
Judiciary. Carried. 

Mr. BROCKMAN moved to take up some resolutions, offered 
by him some days before, and that they be referred to the com- 
mittee on Organization of Counties. Carried. 

He also asked leave to withdraw some resolutions, heretofore 
presented by him. Granted. 

Mr. WOODSON moved to take up some resolutions, offered 
by him some days before, and that they be referred to the com- 
mittee on Education. Carried. 

Mr. SCATES moved to take up certain resolutions, offered by 
him, and that they be referred to the appropriate committee. 
Carried. 

Mr. LOCKWOOD offered several resolutions providing for 
constitutional prohibitions against selling lottery tickets and 



THURSDAY, JUNE 17, 1847 109 

granting divorces by the Legislature; and moved their reference 
to the committee on Legislative Department. Carried. 

Mr. EDMONSON offered the following resolutions: 

Resolved, That the committee on the Judiciary be instructed 
to inquire into the expediency of abolishing the office of Probate 
Justice, in the several counties of this State, and giving to county 
courts power to do probate business. 

Resolved, That the committee on the Judiciary, be instructed 
to inquire into the expediency of abolishing the office of County 
Recorder, in the several counties of this State; and making the 
clerks of the county courts recorders for the counties. 

Mr. CHURCHILL offered the following resolution: 

Resolved, That the committee on Incorporations be instructed 
by this Convention, to report two propositions, to be submitted 
to the people for their direct vote. One of which shall eventually 
and effectually prohibit the circulation of all paper money as 
currency. The other, giving to the General Assembly power to 
pass, a restrictive general banking law; the resolutions to be em- 
braced in the report. 

Mr. McCALLEN offered a substitute. 

Mr. CONSTABLE moved the Convention adjourn till 3 p. m. 

Mr. VANCE moved the Convention adjourn till to-morrow at 
9 A. M. Carried. 



X. FRIDAY, JUNE i8, 1847 

Prayer by Rev. Mr. Green, of Tazewell.^' 

The PRESIDENT laid before the Convention a letter from the 
clerk of the supreme court, answering the resolution of inquiry 
addressed him yesterday. His letter states that at the July term 
of that court in '41, the cases decided were 59; December term, 
same year, 92; July term, '42, 140; December term, '43, 119; 
December term, '44, ill; December term, '45, 171; December 
term, '46, in; and now pending and undecided, 28. 

Mr. SCATES moved to refer the letter to the committee on 
the Judiciary. 

Mr. NORTON moved that 200 copies of the letter be printed 
for the use of the members. It was desirable that all the members 
should have the advantage of all the information that had been 
called for, and he considered the best mode of so doing would be 
to print the reports. 

Mr. MINSHALL asked the object of the motion to print. 

Mr. NORTON said the committee had called for the informa- 
tion, and he supposed had some object in so doing. If the report 
of the clerk of the court was worth calling for, it was worth 
printing. And the members should have every opportunity of 
examining and knowing the whole of the information, on all 
subjects laid before the Convention. 

Mr. BROWN would like to know from the clerk of the supreme 
court, the number of cases appealed to that court from the circuit 
courts, and with a view of introducing a motion to that effect, he 
moved to lay the motion to print on the table; which was carried. 

Mr. SCATES, in reply to a question put to him, said one 
object of the committee, in calling for the information, was to 
ascertain the amount of business done in that court, to enable 
them to form an idea of the necessary number of justices required 
to perform the duties. 

"Henry R. Green, delegate from Tazewell County. See the biographical 
appendix. 



FRIDAY, JUNE i8, 1847 in 

Mr. HURLBUT stated similar reasons on his part, as a 
member of the committee. 

Mr. HAYES, from the committee on Law Reform, reported, 
back the resolutions which had directed them to inquire into the 
expediency of reporting a constitutional provision abolishing 
capital punishment, and asked to be discharged from the further 
consideration of the subject. He gave as the reasons of this 
report, that the committee had concluded the subject did not 
properly come under the duties of the Convention. The Conven- 
tion had been called to amend the constitution, to distribute 
the powers of government among the proper departments and the 
remedying of grievances. The report was agreed to and the reso- 
lutions were laid on the table. 

Mr. LOCKWOOD, from the committee on the Executive 
Department, reported back a series of resolutions which had been 
referred to that committee, some of which they recommended 
to be referred to other committees, and others with several 
amendments in relation to the constitution to the Governor, 
Lieut. Governor, &c. 

Mr. CALDWELL moved that 200 copies of the report be 
published and that it be for the present laid on the table. Carried. 

Mr. JENKINS, from the committee on the Division and 
Organization of Counties, reported back the resolution requiring 
that no new county shall be formed unless the same contain an 
area of 400 square miles, with an opinion that no such provision 
ought to be inserted in the constitution; and asking to be discharged 
from the further consideration of the same. 

Mr. WEST opposed the report of the committee and their 
recommendation. He said that he had not proposed the resolu- 
tion they had reported back, but had a similar one prepared and 
would have done so had he not been anticipated. The subject 
of retrenchment had been much discussed, and though he intended 
to make no speech aboutit, this proposition involved the principle. 
The session of the Legislature had been always prolonged by the 
business growing out of applications for new counties, and changing 
the county seats, which were got up and advocated by numbers 
of men who come down here to accomplish the object from 
personal and interested motives alone. We had come here for 



112 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

retrenchment and reform, and in this particular, by abridging the 
length of the sessions of the Legislature, we would be carrying out 
that principle. A provision, similar to the one embraced in this 
resolution, had been adopted in Indiana, and no one who looked 
at the matter doubted its propriety. The people in his county 
had felt much interest in this matter, the subject had been agitated 
there, by these proposals to change county seats. He entertained 
the highest respect for the gentlemen composing this committee 
and had hoped they would give this resolution a full deliberation; 
they had no doubt thought they had done so, but he desired that 
they would again take the matter and give it a further examination, 
view it calmly and quietly, and information and facts would be 
afforded them that would, no doubt, incline them to a different 
opinion. '^ 

Mr. JENKINS said, that because the committee had asked 
to be discharged from the further consideration of the resolution, 
it should not be presumed that they intended to give the subject 
of county division no further consideration. They would endeavor 
by some provisions hereafter to remedy the evils complained of 

Mr. BROCKMAN said, the committee had not had the 
experience which members had who resided in small counties. 
He represented a small county, and when you come into it and 
have business with the county officers, you have to look for them 
everywhere, and why? Because we cannot afford to pay them 
sufficient to allow a man to remain in his office and attend to its 
duties. He must be engaged in something else. 

In case of a reduction of the number of representatives what 
would small counties do? Small counties have to pay almost as 
much taxes for officers as large ones. Small counties would be 
entirely cut off in representation in the Legislature, and the people 
of them could not be sued. Every session there are petitions for 
new counties and the people's money squandered in legislating 
upon them. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery said, that he hoped this subject 
would be referred again to the committee, or to a select or any 
other appropriate committee. What scenes would be witnessed 

J" 



FRIDAY, JUNE i8, 1847 113 

here every year, when these petitions come before the Legislature 
on this subject, asking for new counties. Fifty or sixty persons 
came down here and hung round the Legislature at every session, 
begging and endeavoring to carry through some one or other of 
these measures; they were round the committee on Counties, and 
affidavits upon affidavits were spread before them, with their 
petitions. Every one knew how they were obtained, and by what 
sort of persons. 

There was but little difference between the expenses of small 
counties and those of large ones and the less the number 
of counties, the less expense it would be to the State. 

This was an evil which the people were everywhere alive to 
and he hoped the Convention would put a stop to it. He 
hoped the provision requiring the 400 square miles to the county 
would be adopted. In nine cases out of ten the petitions for these 
new counties were got up by men looking for the county offices 
to be created; or by men who were anxious to have the county seat 
located on their land, thereby increasing its value. Indiana had a 
provision of this kind in her constitution, and if he was not mis- 
taken, Missouri also had one. No one there complains of it, and 
every one admires the system. We already had one hundred 
counties, and it would be much better if we had but sixty. 

He hoped it would be adopted. 

Mr. DAVIS of McLean, agreed with the gentleman last up. 
This was of the greatest interest to the people of the region 
he came from. On no subject were they more united than upon 
this. No evil greater than this do they require this Convention 
to correct. 

Gentlemen cannot deny that great evil grows out of this 
system of creating new counties every year. Indiana had a pro- 
vision against it. Ohio, too, had one, and he believed the area 
was larger in those States than 400 miles. There, every county 
is respectable, and there are not those complaints about taxation. 

The amount of taxation in large counties for the county 
expenses was less than in smaller ones. Sangamon paid less than 
Macon. These petitions were always the work of interested 
persons. He was in favor of a prohibition against new counties 
being formed with the area less than 400 miles, and also that the 



114 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

county from which it should be taken should not be left smaller 
than that. The attention of the people had been directed to this 
question, and it was a serious one. By adopting this, weeks of 
legislation would be saved. Since he had been in the State, a 
great amount of the time of every Legislature had been wasted 
upon this subject. The Legislature that met two years ago per- 
formed a crowning act by creating no new county, the first time 
anything of the kind had occurred. He moved the resolution be 
recommitted to the committee with the following instructions. 

"To report a provision, to be inserted in the constitution, that 
no new county shall be established by the General Assembly, which 
shall reduce the county or counties, or either of them, from 
which it shall be taken, to less contents than 400 square miles; 
nor shall any county be laid off of less contents, or any line of 
which shall pass within less than ten miles of any county seat 
already established." 

Mr. THOMPSON was surprised, when economy, retrenchment 
and reform were the order of the day, that anything of this kind — 
the creation of new counties — should be heard in the Legislature. 
He was in the Legislature some years ago, and there was a uni- 
versal feeling to arrest the further sub-division of the counties; 
some little arrangement took place between Scott and Morgan, 
which created some local feeling in the Senate. 

The State of New York had only 58 counties; some of them 
had population enough to send a member to Congress. Penn- 
sylvania, too, was of nearly the same area, and the same number 
of counties. I was born in a county which was entitled to two 
members of Congress, six Senators and sixty representatives; in 
an evil day they were induced to cut it into tlu-ee oblong parts, 
and the expenses were tripled if not qua,drupled. 

I have the honor to represent a county of good size, and the 
people are so tenacious of their land that they would not part 
with a single foot of it. — If contiguous counties have any desire to 
be attached to us, we are willing to receive them with open 
arms. But before we part with a single inch of our land, we would, 
Hotspur-like, quibble on the ninth part of a hair. 

Mr. JENKINS. The committee intended to incorporate into 
some report, something in relation to this matter, at another time. 



FRIDAY, JUNE i8, 1847 115 

He had not said a word about retrenchment, though others had. 
The people do not expect us to retrench by restraining them in 
their privileges. We have no right to restrain them in petitioning 
for a new county when they deem such necessary. We have no 
right to bind them down to silence by saying there shall be no new 
county unless it contain an area of 400 miles. Gentlemen had 
said that the petitions for the division of counties were always got 
up by men with interested or dishonest motives. He admitted 
that this might occur, but were they to presume that all men who 
had a part in such questions were dishonest, and that they could 
cheat the people? No, sir, the people are not so stupid — they are 
not so easily cheated. If they were, they would not be capable of 
self-government. What, then, becomes of the great principle of 
government? When the people petition for a new county we 
must presume that it was got up fairly. What would you say of 
elections, because there may be dishonesty at one, must we pre- 
sume all elections are but schemes of cheating? 

Territory is not the basis of the organization of counties, but 
population is the proper one. Suppose a case, where the territory 
is 20 miles square, with a population of 1,000, and then a ter- 
ritory of 18 square miles, with a population of 20,000; the 
former may be made into a county and the latter cannot. This 
would not be fair, and the basis would be unjust. 

He had never seen a small county unable to get officers, or 
desire to be attached to a larger one. Are we, he asked, to have 
our counties organized only with a view that the officers may get 
rich? The people have a right to petition to be organized into 
new counties, when they do not injure another. This prin- 
ciple perhaps might have been proper when the State was first 
organized, but our State being so divided, as regards timber and 
prairie land, the people have a right to petition to be organized 
into counties with a view to their advantages. He hoped the 
report of the committee would be adopted. He would repeat 
again that if the people were not to be trusted with a right to 
petition for a new county when they desired it, for fear they might 
be cheated, they were not capable of self-government. The com- 
mittee intended, when they made the report, to have asked that 
some alteration might be made in the shape of the question. 



ii6 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

[Mr. WEAD said, that he understood we had adopted a rule, 
a few days ago, that committees should not report the reasons for 
their decisions, in writing, but the distinguished chairman of the 
committee on Counties had thought proper to take a different 
course, and had reported the reasons which governed the com- 
mittee in making the report which had just been submitted. 
Those reasons being now before the house, were a legitimate sub- 
ject of investigation, and deserved to be examined. The honor- 
able chairman had reported, as a reason for the action of the 
committee, that large cities may hereafter arise in the State and 
desire to be incorporated into separate counties, and they ought 
not to be denied that privilege. Mr. W. did not see any connec- 
tion between the gentleman's premises and his conclusion. Large 
cities might desire to be set off into counties, therefore, no pro- 
vision ought to be inserted in the constitution to prevent the 
destruction of old counties, or the creation of new ones with a 
less territory than 400 square miles. He did not see the point, 
the pith, of his argument. 

But the honorable gentleman, for whom Mr. W. entertained 
great respect, in his speech, had abandoned the reasons contained 
in his report, and now sought to fortify the action of the committee 
by other reasons. What were those reasons? It was said, to fix 
the size of counties in the constitution is to deny to the people the 
right of petition. Let us look at this argument. We are 
about to limit the powers of the Legislature so that it shall not 
have power to pass any special acts of incorporation. Some man 
desirous of such a privilege may object to the constitution, be- 
cause it will destroy the right of petition! Again, we are about to 
provide for creating a Governor, but according to the gentleman's 
logic, the people will complain, because they are denied the right 
to petition against the creation of such an office. Some man may 
think we ought not to have a judiciary, and he, too, will complain 
that we have denied the right of petition. — He was willing to sub- 
mit these statements to the people and abide the result. 

Are counties to be made only for the accommodation of a few 
people? Are cities, towns, villages, to have the right of organiz- 
ing new counties at pleasure? Gentlemen contend that this is a 
matter for the people in given limits to decide; why, then, ask the 



FRIDAY, JUNE i8, 1847 117 

Legislature to create new counties? But, Mr. President, the 
creation of new counties is a measure of State policy and govern- 
ment, for the convenience of the whole people, and not for the 
convenience of a few men. The State has to furnish a court for 
each new county and pay the expense, to furnish laws, open new 
books and new accounts with them. The expenses of the State 
depend much upon the number of counties. In the great State 
of New York they have but 56 counties, and in Pennsylvania only 
58. Have gentlemen ever heard complaint that these powerful 
States did not get along well enough with large counties? 

But to leave this matter open is to leave a great and important 
principle undetermined. Counties are continually agitated and 
the people excited upon questions of division. Interested specu- 
lators and designing men, in order to accomplish some sinister 
object, are continually setting such projects on foot, and they 
uniformly beget ill-feeling, suspicion and difficulty. In many in- 
stances the people, oppressed with enormous county taxes, are 
induced to sign petitions for division, in the hope of obtaining 
relief. But when the new county comes to be organized, and they 
are called upon to defray the expense of new county buildings, 
and support a new set of office-holders, they speedily abandon all 
hope of relief. The truth is, the high county taxes and burthens 
arise from our defective system of county government, and the 
people can obtain relief only by abolishing the county commis- 
sioners' court. 

Again, men settle in large counties for motives of interest and 
pride, they invest their property upon the implied faith that the 
county shall not be shorn of its power, or its influence lessened. 
Have these men no rights as well as the majority ? It may be that 
a large majority of the property holders and taxpayers of a county 
may be opposed to a division, ought they to be compelled to pay 
the additional expense of supporting a new county at the will of a 
bare minority? 

As long as this question is left open the Legislature will be con- 
tinually harrassed with applications to divide the large counties, 
and the time of its members will be consumed in listening to the 
petitions and remonstrances, instead of attending to the general 
welfare of the people. 



ii8 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

In every point of view, then, this question ought to be finally 
settled. It will relieve the people of the large counties from a load 
of doubts and fears, and put at rest, forever, the hopes and antici- 
pations of a large number of restless and ambitious speculators. 

So long as the counties are large they will have weight and in- 
fluence commensurate with their population and wealth; divide 
them and you will strip them of their power. 

Mr. W. said he gloried in being one of the representatives of a 
large county, one whose population was exceeded by but two or 
three in the State, and who paid into the State Treasury a larger 
sum than any other in the State save one. He should regret to 
see that county divided.]-" 

Mr. MARKLEY. I move to amend the instructions so as to 
read "inquire into the expediency of &c." 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin said, that this question was one 
of some interest to the people in his county and he desired to 
express his views upon it. He only claimed to be the representa- 
tive of a single county. The people of that county were nearly 
equally divided on the question. He admitted the right of the 
people to be heard on this and every subject, but the Convention 
had a right also to make such laws as appeared to them the best. 
He thought the subject a local one, and not a question of State 
government, and should only interest the counties concerned. 
He was in favor of re-commitment of the resolutions and that the 
committee should wait till they had heard other propositions, 
which might be presented by gentlemen, and when they had seen 
them and contrasted them one with the other they would be better 
able to speak of the question. It was true that something should 
be done; but they had better wait and hear all the propositions 
that might be offered on the subject. 

He was personally opposed to the resolution before them, as 
were many of his friends, but he was the representative of the 
county — a single county, and not of the whole State, as other 
gentlemen claimed to be — and should vote as he considered best 
for the interests of that county. 

^"The full report of Wead's remarks, as printed in the weekly Illinois 
Stale Register of June 25, is here substituted for a brief general summary. 



FRIDAY, JUNE i8, 1847 119 

The subject involved in the debate was not of a general char- 
acter, but of a mere local nature. It had been his misfortune since 
he had been there, when he had been advocating the interest of 
his own county, to differ from the majority. While he admitted 
that these petitions for new counties were got up by dishonest men 
and speculators in town lots, he did not believe that such was 
always the case; and where a case arose where a division would be 
proper, he thought the people should have the right to petition 
the Legislature in the matter. 

Mr. JENKINS inquired of the Chair whether there was any 
rule forbidding a committee when reporting to give reasons. He 
saw no such rule on the list before him. 

The CHAIR replied that there was, but it had been adopted 
after the rules had been printed. 

Mr. MARKLEY withdrew his amendment. 

Mr. LOGAN offered the following amendment to the instruc- 
tions: 

"And that no county shall be divided, or have any part thereof 
stricken off, without submitting the question to a vote of the 
people of the county, nor unless a majority of all the legal voters of 
the county shall vote for the same." 

He thought the Convention should now decide the question. 

Mr. GEDDES offered an amendment to the amendment. 

Mr. WEST read an amendment, which the Chair ruled to be 
out of order at the time. 

Mr. SINGLETON said, he had come there to represent the 
interest of his constituents. He had come, not to consult their 
will but their interests. They would exercise their will themselves. 
He scarcely ever got up to address the Convention, but what he 
could read in the countenances of gentlemen, speeches upon 
retrenchment — about the consumption of time. He did not care 
if it should occupy a month in discussing a question when he 
thought it demanded it. He thought the restricting the formation 
of new counties the best step in retrenchment. They did not see 
the dollars uppermost but they were in the back ground. The 
question of creating new counties had occupied much of the time 
of the Legislature. The resolution which had been before the Con- 
vention [had] originally come from his colleague, and the people of 



I20 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

their county are much interested in the subject. — The people had 
shown their opposition to the creation of more counties, and it 
was high time a stop was put to it. It was never too late to do 
good. — We are making roads every day, and we do not want the 
county seats changed or county lines altered. This matter costs 
the State every year Jio,ooo, and he looked upon it as a most 
important item. It was a very little object what amount of time 
was consumed in the discussion of this subject; but when a man 
gets up here he is almost frowned down. What were they to do? 
When one of them should go home to his constituents, and they 
should ask him why he did not resist this or that proposition, 
must he say, "why, it was unpopular in the Convention to make 
speeches, and I let it pass" ? This was a perfect cut-throat policy. 

Mr. DAVIS, of Montgomery, said, he was in favor of the area 
being fixed at 400 square miles. — This would, if the counties were 
all of that size, still allow them 140 counties. But he would be in 
favor of changing the instruction, so as to have the line to run 
within six miles of a county seat, if that would suit the gentleman 
who offered them. 

Mr. DAVIS, of McLean. Never in the world, sir. 

Mr. D., of Montgomery, resumed; when 

Mr. MARKLEY called him to order, as he had spoken before 
on the subject, and could not now if any other gentleman desired 
to speak. No member offering to speak, 

Mr. DAVIS said, that he would call the Convention to witness 
that he had never spoken more than fifteen minutes at a time, that 
he always spoke to the point and no more, and that if he violated 
any rule of order he did it unintentionally. 

He considered that the people of the whole State were interested 
in this matter. The State expenses were increased with every 
new county. He did not view it in the same light with those 
gentlemen who spoke of the right of petition. We had come here 
to act in relation to the judiciary and Legislature, in both of which 
the people had an interest, and certainly by so doing they never 
thought it was depriving them of any rights. 

Mr. CHURCHILL wished to offer some homely, farmer-like 
reasons upon the subject. The county seats were often situated 
upon small streams, and it was frequently more convenient for 



FRIDAY, JUNE i8, 1847 121 

people to transact their business on the banks of those streams 
than in the interior. He was opposed to any law governing the 
location of the county seat. He might also speak of the prairies. 
Mr. C. then read a series of resolutions on the subject, which he 
would have offered if in order at the time. 

Mr. TURNBULL made a few remarks and then the Conven- 
tion adjourned till 3 p. m. 

AFTERNOON 

Mr. GEDDES withdrew his amendment. 

Mr. LOGAN rose to explain the purport of his amendment. 
It was not a substitute for the original instructions, but an addi- 
tional one. The State of Illinois now had one hundred counties 
(and a population of 700,000,) nearly double the number New York 
had. She with a population of over two millions had but fifty-six 
counties. Pennsylvania had fifty-eight counties, and they were 
found sufficient for the administration of justice and the manage- 
ment of business. Our Legislature had been continually increasing 
the number of counties, sometimes with not more than 1,500 or 
2,000 souls in the county. The expenses were always increased 
by the formation of new counties, court houses to be built, officers 
to be paid, commissioners to be paid &c. There is danger that 
the Legislature will go on increasing the number, when there are 
now counties that have not sufficient revenue to pay the interest 
on their debt. The resolution reaches the desired object to some 
extent but not entirely. Even with this provision it will not 
prevent an increase. Four hundred square miles is a small 
county. Bond is a small county but it has timber and prairie 
land, and being well settled is very well. As the matter stood at 
present they might reduce an old county to a size which would 
not accord with the views of the people of that county. 

His amendment guarded against this. Suppose an old county, 
depending on the resources of the whole county, should build a 
large court house and other buildings, and there was a proposition 
to divide it, should the people of that county not have a right to 
say whether they were willing to divide or not? 

Mr. L. then reviewed the manner in which the petitions for a 
division of the counties were generally prepared, and urged the 



122 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

adoption of his amendment. He concluded by saying, that he 
felt he was incurring no risk in saying that he was unwilling to 
give the Legislature no power to divide his county, without giving 
the people of that county the privilege of saying whether they 
desired the division or not. 

Mr. MASON said the question before them was, shall 400 
square miles be the area of all new counties to be hereafter formed. 
He was a member of the committee who had reported against this 
resolution, and he proceeded to give the reasons which had gov- 
erned the committee in reporting against the resolution. 

He stated that the committee had not acted hastily in the 
subject, but had given it much deliberation; they had thought it 
better to reject the area of 400 miles because it interfered with the 
townships, and there might be counties that would not contain 
that amount of territory, and yet would be fully entitled to 
organization. 

He continued this question at some length, and urged that 
population and not territory was the proper basis. 

Mr. DAVIS, of Massac, begged the gentleman from Sangamon 
to withdraw his amendment, and allow him to oflPer a substitute 
for the whole; which was done. 

Mr. D. said, that these propositions continually coming before 
the Legislature for the division of counties was a prolific source of 
evil. He had drawn up a substitute for the original instructions, 
and in doing so, had an eye to the constitution of Tennessee, in 
which was a clause of the same nature as the one now proposed. 
He had copied his substitute from that, making only such alter- 
ations as were necessary under the circumstances. The constitu- 
tion of Tennessee says, the boundary line shall not run within 
twelve miles of any county seat; he had substituted ten in his. 

That constitution says that two-thirds of the General Assembly 
shall concur in making the division: in his substitute he had 
left the matter to the people of the county, and not to the Legis- 
lature. 

It had been argued that there should be no constitutional 
provision restraining the people in this question of dividing 
counties. Almost every State in the Union has thought it proper 
to restrain, by constitutional provision, the forming of new coun- 



FRIDAY, JUNE i8, 1847 123 

ties ad libitum. The constitution of Indiana asserts a general 
principle only, in relation to this matter. The constitution of 
Ohio provides that no new county shall be formed with a less area 
than 400 square miles; that of Tennessee limits the extent of 
territory at 350 square miles. And most of the States of the Union 
have similar provisions. And then the injustice of these changes 
of the county seats: a man buys land near the county seat, and 
pays more therefor than he would were the county seat not there, 
and the Legislature a few months afterwards moves the county 
seat, is it not an act of great injustice to that man? It is, and 
should not be tolerated, unless the people of that county had 
desired it. He should speak of those persons who got up petitions 
and come down here about the Legislature, hanging upon members 
to have divisions made, but others had said every thing required, 
and it needed no enforcement. 

Mr. D. then read some extracts from the constitution of Ten- 
nessee in relation to the subject. 

Mr. LOGAN said, he was afraid he had got himself into a 
scrape by withdrawing his amendment to enable the gentleman to 
offer his substitute. He was ready at any time to do almost any- 
thing any person asked him, but he would like very much to have 
the matter as it was before. 

Mr. DAVIS then withdrew his substitute, and the amendment 
of Mr. Logan was renewed. 

Mr. BLAIR addressed the Convention at some length in 
support of the restriction. 

Mr. CALDWELL offered to add to the amendment a proviso, 
that nothing therein should affect counties already created. 

Mr. BROCKMAN moved to lay the proviso on the table. 
Carried. 

Mr. KENNER oifered an amendment to the amendment. 

Mr. MARKLEY moved to lay the whole subject on the table — 
yeas 38, nays 113. Lost. 

The amendment to the amendment was then laid on the table. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery moved the previous question, 
which was seconded. 

Mr. McCALLEN (by leave) said he was a representative of a 
small county and much had been said about them. The people 



124 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

in his county were patriotic enough to take the offices, no matter 
how small the salary. A gentleman had said that the delegates 
from large counties brought with them to conventions like this, 
more weight, respectability and dignity than those of the small 
counties. If so, he wanted his county raised to the dignity 
standard. 

The amendment was then carried and the instructions as 
amended were adopted. 

Mr. DEMENT, from the committee on the Legislative 
Department, reported a resolution praying instructions to provide 
an amendment to the constitution, limiting the number of the 
General Assembly to loo members; — 25 senators and 75 repre- 
sentatives; and that they should divide the State into districts 
upon the basis of the census of 1845, their pay to be fixed at ?2 
per day and the sessions limited to 60 days, and to hold their 
sessions once in 2 years. 

Mr. WORCESTER moved to strike out 25 and insert 20; 
strike out 75 and insert 60. 

Mr. SCATES moved to strike out 60 and insert 40. 

Mr. Z. CASEY was in favor of the lowest number named. 
He was for economy, retrenchment and reform, in the proper sense 
of those words. We should incorporate it into every branch of 
the government. 

The great reform must be made in the legislative department; 
to that branch we trace all our evils. If we had had no Legislature 
for the last twelve years we would now be a happy and prosperous 
State. He had lost all confidence in an Illinois Legislature. If 
we reduced their number to 20 in the Senate and 40 in the House, 
one session in two years, and then to be limited to sixty days, their 
per diem fixed unalterably in the constitution, then we would 
have a business body. We would then be spared the curse of all 
Legislatures — local legislation. It might be said that the number 
was too low for the dignity of the State. This was not so. He 
would compare the numbers 20 and 40, and our population with 
the number of the General Assembly of New York, with a popula- 
tion of 2,650,000. In the Legislature of that State there were, in 
the House, 158 members, and 32 in the Senate. Our representa- 
tion, in proportion to the ■ population and upon the same ratio. 



FRIDAY, JUNE i8, 1847 125 

would be 27 in the House and Senate in proportion. In no way 
could we insure economy and reform so well as by incorporating 
such a provision. He would rather give one vote for such a 
proposition than make twenty speeches on retrenchment. 

Mr. MINSHALL said, he did not know whether he should 
vote to strike out or not. He was much surprised to hear the 
motion to strike out 75 and insert a smaller number. He had 
always been taught from his youth that the House of Representa- 
tives — the popular branch — should be large; not so large as to be 
unwieIdly[j?V], but sufficiently large to avoid corruption. Illinois was 
always running from one extreme to the other. Forty is a very 
small number, and he thought the House should be large. They 
might make the Senate as small and aristocratic as they thought 
proper, but leave the House large. The gentleman had said he 
had lost all confidence in an Illinois Legislature. He would ask 
him if a small body of 40 could not more easily be corrupted than 
a larger one? He was willing to agree with the report of the com- 
mittee. 

Mr. WHITNEY advocated the report of the committee, and 
the number fixed by them. 

Mr. KITCHELL was in favor of the report of the committee, 
except so far as related to districting the State. This, he thought, 
should be left to the Legislature. 

Mr. ROUNTREE advocated a larger number than recom- 
mended by the committee. 

Mr. HARVEY thought the number fixed by the committee 
was about right. If the number should be fixed at 40, every 
representative would have a constituency of 20,000 persons; if 
fixed at 75, he would have something over 10,000. 

Mr. DEMENT said, that the committee had carefully weighed 
all the proposed numbers to constitute the Legislature. They had 
estimated the proportion of the population to each representative, 
according to the various numbers that had been submitted, and 
had, after due deliberation, and a careful enquiry into the many 
difficulties attending a smaller number, agreed upon what had 
been just reported. He continued this branch of the subject at 
much length. He also said that the cost of the State for the pay 
of the members and officers of the last Legislature had been 



1 26 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

$69,000; add to this, 1 1,800 for stationery, and some $230 for fuel, 
and it carried it over $70,000. The plan proposed, at $2 per day, 
and limiting the sessions at 60 days, the pay of the members and 
officers would amount to $11,778, a saving in this item alone, of 
$58,900. By fixing the pay of the members at $3 per day, the 
highest amount he had heard mentioned, there still, by adopting 
the other reforms proposed by the committee, would be a saving 
of $53,500; and this was not a small amount. 

Mr. D. continued the subject at considerable length, but owing 
to the late hour at which the Convention adjourned we are un- 
able to insert a more extended report of his remarks, which were 
listened to with great attention. 

The Convention then adjourned. 



XI. SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 1847 

The question pending at the adjournment yesterday was on 
striking out the words "twenty-five" and "seventy-five" in the 
resolution reported by Mr. Dement from the committee on 
the Legislative Department. This resolution provided that the 
General Assembly should consist of seventy-five representatives 
and twenty-five senators. 

Mr. ARCHER said that he was constrained to concur with 
the committee and oppose the amendment. He was aware that the 
people were in favor of a reduction of the number of representa- 
tives, but he believed they were not prepared to sanction so great 
a reduction as that proposed by the gentleman from JeflFerson, 
(Mr. ScATEs). He had great respect for the opinions of that 
gentleman, but he thought he (Mr. S.) was in advance of the 
public sentiment. 

Small bodies are more liable to corruption than larger bodies, 
whilst the latter are liable to prolong the sessions of the General 
Assembly and subject the State to heavy expenses. He thought 
these two extremes should be avoided, and that the number 
suggested by the committee was a proper medium between the 
two. He would rather have the General Assembly too large than 
too small, for the reason that popular liberty was the safest in the 
hands of a numerous representation. 

The State of New York had been referred to as an example, 
but he thought it was not applicable to our condition and State 
organization. In New York the population is more compact, and 
the number of counties much smaller than in Illinois. If we 
follow their example, one member will represent four or five 
counties, thus placing the representative at too great a distance 
from his constituents, which he thought was impolitic if not 
dangerous. 

If the number recommended by the committee is adopted, a 
reduction of sixty-two members will have been made, which re- 
duction, he thought, was all that the people expected or desired. 
127 



128 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

He thought that each county should have a representative, so that 
he may be acquainted, not only with a part, but all his constitu- 
ents, and faithfully represent their interests and reflect their will. 

Again, it is impolitic to go from one extreme to another. Here- 
tofore the General Assembly had been too large, and delay and 
excessive expenditures have been the consequence. Now it is 
proposed to reduce the number to sixty. He thought that the 
people were not prepared for so sudden and momentous a transition. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery said, that he thought the number 
proposed by the committee was too small. The great cry has 
always been that the Legislature was too large, and to this cause 
has been attributed many, if not most, of the evils which were 
known to exist. But this was not the source of these evils. They 
proceeded from the excessive power given to the Legislature. 
Mr. D. then spoke at some length about candidates for office and 
individuals seeking favors of the Legislature, hanging about the 
lobbies and consuming the time of members, and entangling them 
in schemes for individual benefit, to the detriment of the public 
interests. Let these things be guarded against and there will be 
no complaints about delay and expense; 

He hoped that there would be a county representation, so that 
the larger counties could not overshadow the smaller. The organ- 
ization of the United States Senate was based upon this principle. 
If, said Mr. D., New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, had a repre- 
sentation in the Senate according to their population they would 
almost have the entire control of the Union. He asked if it might 
not operate in some such way here, if the representation should 
be based upon population alone. Could not the larger cities and 
towns on the lakes and navigable rivers overshadow the less popu- 
lous and more humble neighboring counties? 

We should have an eye to the future as well as the present. 
In 1840, we had 250,000 inhabitants; in 1845 we had 700,000. Is 
it right to fix the apportionment to suit these counties that are 
settled, leaving those that are not settled unprovided for. He 
was opposed to giving large counties an undue and unjust power 
over smaller ones, and he advocated a larger number than that 
recommended by the committee. 

Mr. DALE said, there was so great a difference in the views of 



SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 1847 129 

gentlemen, as to the number of which the General Assembly should 
consist, varying from 80 to 120, some members desiring even 
greater numbers than these, and some less, that the committee, 
by way of conciliation, adopted a medium number and reported 
to this convention the number of one hundred. 

The last General Assembly having been composed of 162 
members, the reduction to one hundred, as proposed by the report, 
would be a reduction of more than one-third of the number which 
composed the last General Assembly. 

This is, indeed, a great stride in the system of retrenchment; 
and if this number should be adopted by the Convention, as also 
the recommendation of the same committee as to the pay of 
members of the Legislature, there would be a saving to the State, 
at each session of the Legislature, of near sixty thousand dollars; 
a sum, which though small, yet if properly expended, would go 
some way towards retrieving the credit of the State. 

But though the saving, by this retrenchment of the number in 
the General Assembly, should be large, yet if this saving is eflFected, 
by losing sight of, or trenching upon the first principles of repre- 
sentative republics, it were a saving of doubtful expediency. In 
the legislation of these governments the views, wishes and feelings 
of the people should he. fully and properly represented. This can 
be done only by allowing to each county at least one representative. 

The intercourse and acquaintance of the people with each other 
are, most generally, limited and bounded by county lines. They 
attend at the county seats of their own counties, courts, meetings, 
conventions, &c., and by constant intercourse and interchange of 
views and sentiments, they so assimilate, that frequently county 
lines are the lines of opposite views, habits and wishes. 

In order, then, to a proper representation, each county should 
have its representative. Our State, however, is, unfortunately 
cut up into small counties, that such a representation might be 
considered unwieldly and burthensome; and as it is highly probable 
that no larger number will be adopted by this convention, and as 
the division between the two houses, of the number reported by 
the committee, seems to be in proper proportion, he should sus- 
tain the report of the committee. But,[at the same time, he would 
say, that when this matter comes properly before the people, and '' 



I30 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

those counties which, under former apportionments, were always 
entitled to a separate representative, shall, to elect one represent- 
ative, find themselves attached to smaller counties, and those 
smaller counties shall find their votes swallowed up in the votes of 
the larger counties, there will be complaint. 

As, however, an amendment may hereafter be made, providing 
for an increase of this number when the people may vote for such 
an increase, he would forego his wishes and feelings and vote in 
favor of the committee's report . 

Mr. BROCKMAN said, that he was opposed to the amend- 
ment. He advocated a large representation. Every county 
ought to have a representative. He thought that the Convention 
should have an eye to those who should come after us. Geography, 
said Mr. B., does not present a richer valley than that of the 
Mississippi, and there is no State in that valley equal to Illinois. 
It possesses a variety of climate and soil unparalleled. It has 
also a variety of interests which must be attended to, or we shall 
descend into an aristocracy. 

We have a State capable of sustaining a population of 18,000,- 
000. Massachusetts had a population of ninety souls to the 
square mile. In the same proportion Illinois would sustain a 
population of 5,000,000. Is the number proposed by the amend- 
ment sufficient to represent 5,000,000? Would one representative 
to 60,000 or 70,000 souls be sufficient? By this system one 
member would represent six or seven bodies corporate. It has 
been proposed to increase the number of county commissioners, 
because three men cannot do the business, yet in the same breath 
it is proposed to lessen the number of representatives. He saw 
no propriety or wisdom in this. 

If each county shall not be provided with a representative, 
none but lawyers can get into the Legislature. They travel from 
county to county, and possess facilities for extending their 
acquaintance, which are entirely out of the reach of farmers and 
other classes, whose pursuits confine them at home on their farms 
and in their shops. If each county is allowed a representative, 
individuals, other than lawyers, can find their way to the Legis- 
lature, for they will be well known throughout their own county. 



SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 1847 131 

Mr. McCALLEN advocated at some length the adoption of 
the county representative system. 

[Mr. McCALLEN said he did not rise to inflict a speech upon 
the Convention, but briefly to give his views upon the matter 
now under consideration, for he regarded it as being a subject of 
momentous import to the welfare of the people. It seemed to be 
the disposition of every gentleman in the Convention to carry out 
what they were pleased to term retrenchment and reform. He 
would be sorry to doubt the sincerity of gentlemen; he was dis- 
posed to attribute to them the same honesty of purpose, the same 
generosity of motive which he claimed for himself. But, continued 
Mr. McCallen, are they not mistaken in the means by which 
this economy and this retrenchment are to be brought about? 

It seems to be the disposition of the majority, to leave all the 
important questions which are discussed here open for the decision 
of the people themselves, or for the future action of the legislature. 
What, sir, was it that caused the people to call us together? Was 
it not to settle these questions? To settle and determine princi- 
ples at least? Why then will not gentlemen take the responsibil- 
ity of settling those questions which they were sent here to 
determine; and embody them in the constitution? Gentlemen have 
assembled here to remedy certain evils, yet they seem most 
anxious to shift the responsibility from their shoulders, for fear, 
perhaps, that they might not be able to return again. 

With all due deference to the Hon. member from Jefferson, 
(for there is not a member in this assembly who has a more ex- 
alted opinion of his patriotism, and his distinguished talents, than 
I have; but is not the gentleman as liable to err as some of the 
rest of us?) I entirely disagree with that honorable gentleman, 
in regard to his proposed reduction of the General Assembly. 
The proposition which the gentleman is in favor of, as I under- 
stood him, is that the legislature shall be reduced to forty mem- 
bers in the House and twenty in the Senate, in order that we may 
retrench and economize the expenses of this government. Might 
not the expenses of the government be better retrenched, and 
economized, by setting limits to the action of the legislature? 
By saying to the legislature, thus far thou shalt go, and no farther? 



132 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

If we contend for the principle of a democratic, responsible gov- 
ernment, let us carry it out; and I ask this convention, if that 
principle can be carried out, by limiting the representation in this 
hall to forty members? If it can, I am prepared to go still fyrther 
than the gentleman from Brown, who preceded me in this debate. 
If forty members can do the business of this State, if the great 
and important interests of the people can be intrusted to so small 
a number, — why not bring it down at once to the standard of 
Napoleon's republic; reduce it to a council of three, and have an 
aristocratic government, an oligarchy at once? It has been very 
properly suggested here, that the interests of the smaller counties 
will be swallowed up by the greater, in the indulgence of that love 
of power which is inherent in the human breast; that as nothing 
but an imaginary line divides them, the interests of the smaller 
counties will be absorbed and swallowed up by the larger. True, 
sir, there is danger; and yet within those lines there are feelings 
of local interest, feelings which attach every man to his own 
county. — The same feeling which produces State pride, or pride 
of country, will operate in regard to counties. State lines are 
merely imaginary, yet who does not hold his own State first in his 
affections? The same principle will hold good when we refer to 
Europe; imaginary lines, only, separate nations, and yet those 
nations are arrayed in hostile attitude against each other. Sir, 
if you would in accordance with your professions, protect the 
rights of the weak against the encroachments of the powerful, 
then let your small counties be protected in the enjoyment of 
their privileges. Each county in itself possesses a kind of minor 
sovereignty; that sovereignty should be represented, and respect- 
ably represented in this house. It is said that gentlemen who 
came from small counties, should not be entitled to the same 
respect and consideration as those who represent larger ones. If 
this is to be the decree regarding this thing, let gentlemen openly 
avow it. Let them not come here sailing under false colors. Let 
them not come here under the color of democracy, and say that 
that class to which I belong, those whom they opprobriously style 
"blue light federalists," and "Mexican whigs," are those who 
are trampling on the rights and interests of the people. Let them 
come out under their true colors, and if they are disposed to pro- 



SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 1847 133 

tect the interests of the great mass of the democracy of this 
country, let them show it by acts and not by words. I am clearly 
of opinion with the gentleman from Brown, that should we adopt 
this policy, and reduce the number of representatives to forty, it 
will drive from these halls the representatives of that very class, 
on whose behalf so much is said, and so many professions made; 
it will prevent the hard-fisted yeomanry of the country from ever 
attaining a seat in your legislative halls. It will shut out from 
participating in the legislation of the State the farmer, the me- 
chanic, and if you please the merchant, whose interest and whose 
welfare are preached from every stump. Another class of men 
must fill your legislature, if this principle be adopted; and what 
class will it be? 

It has been truly remarked by the gentleman from Brown, 
that it will be the lawyers, the nabobs of the country; men who 
can roll in their coaches; whilst the poor man, the farmer, the 
mechanic, though he may have the embryo talent lurking in his 
brain of a Clay, a Webster, or a Calhoun, is ruthlessly deprived 
of all chance of ever arriving at that niche in the temple of fame, 
which his inherent talent would otherwise give him the capability 
of attaining. If we are going to be democratic, let us give every 
county in the State a representative. — But, perhaps, gentlemen 
have promised reform, which they now find it somewhat incon- 
venient to carry out; they have promised more, perhaps, than it 
is agreeable to them to carry out. 

For my own part, I came here bound by no pledges; I am free 
as the air of heaven. That I am honored with a seat here, is but 
the triumph of the principles by which I am governed, and not 
because I was willing to subscribe to what appeared to be the 
wishes of a majority. Rather than beg a seat here, in order to 
carry out doctrines which I disapproved, rather than do this, I 
would dig my political grave deeper than the very caves of the 
ocean. The people whom I have the honor to represent are not 
willing that their right of suffrage — that their right of represen- 
tation here, should be balanced against a paltry sum of dollars 
and cents. There are questions arising, and always will be, in 
the progress of the development of the resources of this country, 
and in the further arrangement of the State, that will require local 



134 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

legislation; and is there a county, in view of this fact, that will 
not be willing to pay the expenses of a member, rather than be 
deprived of the services of a representative in the legislature? 
And another great difficulty which has been raised by many gen- 
tlemen on this floor, is this sectional feeling, this county pride. 
Range two or three of these counties side by side — let them send 
one representative to the legislature, and which among them will 
be most neglected? — Undoubtedly the smallest. The main in- 
terest of the whole will be laid aside, party politics even will be 
laid aside, and these local questions are the ones that will 
be agitated. These are not freaks of the imagination. I come from 
a county which never sent a representative to the legislature, and 
it was only by a piece of good fortune that your humble servant 
obtained a seat here. lA laugh.] Though I would be decidedly 
opposed to a curtailment of the representation, yet if gentlemen 
persist in curtailing down to the small number proposed, for the 
purpose of economizing — if a saving of dollars and cents is to be 
the word — I will go further than they. I will say clothe your 
executive with imperial functions, put the imperial crown upon 
his head, and carry out your doctrine in its utmost rigor. Deny 
the people the right of representation in the legislature, — send 
forth from this august body a constitution that will give to your 
large counties clustered around the centre the full power of the 
whole State, and I pledge you my life that the people will respond 
to your acts in a way that will be most unwelcome. The people's 
rights are not to be bought and sold. 

But gentlemen may enquire, what would be my proposition. 
If we must have a conservative department in this government, 
in order to check the power of the others; make the most numerous 
body of the legislature that conservative department; let the 
sovereignty of every county in the State, which is able to carry 
on a county government be represented; then, select your Sen- 
ators according to the population of the country. It has been 
justly remarked by the gentleman from Bond, that the conserva- 
tive character of the Senate of the United States has more than 
once saved this republic; and I entirely concur with the gentleman. 
Give the numerous body of the legislature this conservative power 
and we shall save perhaps the character of this rapidly growing 



SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 1847 135 

State. Concentrate the power around the capital of the State, 
and you at once have a civil government, more odious in its char- 
acter than was ever the consolidated government of Santa Anna; 
the bordering counties having no more voice in the legislature 
than if placed beyond the Mississippi; swallowed up by the con- 
solidated power collected around your capitol. — Is this what the 
people expect from a democratic convention? Is this the kind 
of democratic doctrine which gentlemen come here to advocate? 
Do they not place themselves in the position of the Jay, who had 
borrowed the feathers of the Peacock? Let me tell the gentle- 
men, there is a breeze of intelligence sweeping over the broad 
savannah's of this land, that will scatter their brilliant plumes and 
leave them in their naked deformity. Principles will be test 
words, and party names will be unknown. I do not intend to 
consume much of the time of the Convention; I did not come here, 
as I said on another occasion, deeply learned in the law, yet my 
constituents thought me not unworthy of a seat in this assembly, 
and whenever their interests are to be sacrificed upon the alter of 
penuriousness, than I am to be found battling in their cause. I 
am not going to sit quietly in my seat, and see the little county 
which bears the name of that glorious hero, who shed his blood 
upon the field of Buena Vista, sacrificed to serve the purposes of 
the democracy of the State.]^' 

Mr. LOUDON said, that he had just come into the Convention, 
and desired to say a few words on the question, though he did not 
exactly know what the question was. His constituents were 
interested in the matter. He had long thought of the matter. It 
had occurred to him in days past that the Legislature was entirely 
too large. He had heard the people say so, particularly in the 
south part of the State. Their sessions were entirely used for 
log-rolling, &c., which took up a great deal of time, and, therefore, 
the sessions were too long. He was for a sufficient number, in the 
Legislature, to carry on the business of government and no more. 
So far as his county was concerned, he was satisfied that not one 
could be found who was not in favor of reducing the number to 

" This account of McCallen's speech is taken from the Sangamo Journal, 
June 22. 



136 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

50 in the House and 25 in the Senate. The committee had 
reported 75 and 25, and he did not know but that he would vote 
for striking out. He lived in a small county which would lose a 
representative, and he had the best feeling for his county and her 
people, but still he would vote to reduce the number of represent- 
atives. It might be said that Illinois required a greater number 
in her Legislature to represent the interests of all her people; but 
he would introduce the State of Tennessee, who [sic] had a much 
larger population than Illinois, and a much smaller representation 
in her Legislature. Much had been said of retrenchment, and 
he was of opinion that this was a proper way to make it; in fact, 
the only way to retrench the expenses of the State was to curtail 
the number of representatives in the Legislature, then reduce their 
per diem, and then there would be a great saving to the State. 
This was the only way that it could be done. He had introduced 
a resolution some weeks ago on this subject, which had expressed 
his views and the views of his constituents. 

But there was apparently a great anxiety, on the part of some 
gentlemen, that if the number of representatives should be 
reduced, and several counties put into one district, that they 
would never get back to the Legislature. He lived in a small 
county, and one which, if this reduction should pass, would lose a 
representative, yet he would rather have the honor to represent 
three or four counties than one. It was no great thing to 
get into the Legislature! Much better to keep out of it. If he 
could get elected from a large district, composed of several good 
sized and respectable counties, why, then he would consider himself 
a respectable member. 

It was all a chance to get into the Legislature anyhow. If a 
man was respectable and popular in his own county now, and 
would do everything to keep up that character after he was put 
into a large district, and let the people then see him and know 
him, he would stand the same chance, and might be elected. 
Gentlemen should not be afraid. Young men who are now 
squirming and trembling about the loss of their chances to get 
back to the Legislature, should remember that the old ones will 
die, and get other places, &c., and that they will, in time, have 



SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 1847 137 

all the chances. Many who are now in will die, and they will be 
elected to fill their places. That was his only hope. 

Mr. PINCKNEY said, that if those gentlemen who were afraid 
of not getting back to the Legislature would quietly wait till the 
old ones would die, it would be the better course. He did not 
know how others felt, but for himself he had not been much 
enlightened by the speeches of gentlemen upon the principles 
upon which governments were formed, and even if they had gone 
back to Greece and Rome, and informed us how their governments 
had been established, he did not think the result would be much 
different. He had read all about them in his youth, but did not 
think he could enlighten the Convention upon the subject at 
present. 

His reasons for rising at all were to have a vote upon the 
question at once. He would prefer the number to be 80 instead 
of 75, and that number, he was of opinion, was not too large, but 
he did not desire to have the number more than that. He thought 
but little of the argument that small bodies were more easily 
corrupted than large ones. If this were the case, how came it 
that the people themselves were corrupted when they met en 
masse. They were there swayed to and fro by some one man — 
an orator — who, by appealing to their feelings and passions, 
carried them like a wave backward and forward. If the number 
and pay be reduced, it is said that poor men will not be able to 
canvass the districts. Well, he did not care if men never can- 
vassed the districts, making stump speeches, log-rolling, and using 
every means to procure their election. He would not care if this 
were all broken up. The people of his county were willing to pay 
men a reasonable compensation for their services in the Legisla- 
ture — not too high nor too low. 

Mr. WORCESTER withdrew his motion to strike out the 
numbers proposed by the committee and insert less ones. 

Mr. SCATES advocated the motion made yesterday by him 
to strike out the numbers proposed by the committee. In doing 
so he said, that he hoped no one desired to "question" gentlemen 
down who were disposed to present their views to the Convention 
on this subject. He was astonished to hear gentlemen say, when 
great constitutional questions were before them, that there ought 



138 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

to be no more discussion. He had objected, last week, to long 
discussion upon a very trifling matter of dollars and cents. But 
now, gentlemen who have spoken themselves, like a man after a 
feast, think no one hungry because they are satisfied. Gentlemen 
had also indulged in personal remarks, in sarcasm, and ridicule of 
those whom they were disposed to silence. He had shared largely 
in these. In reply, he had only to say, as Job said to his com- 
forters, "miserable comforters ye are," and he would add, with 
Job, also, "ye are the people and wisdom will die with you." His 
colleague (Mr. Z. Casey) had been made to say, by one of the 
gentlemen who had spoken, that he had lost all confidence in an 
Illinois Legislature because they had become corrupt. His 
colleague did not say that he had lost all confidence in the Legis- 
lature because it was corrupt. He (Mr. S.) had lost all confidence 
in an Illinois Legislature, because he had lost confidence in its 
ever adopting retrenchment and reform; he had lost confidence in 
it because of its organization. He had no confidence in it when 
it went on increasing its number till it had reached 162. 

Mr. MINSHALL explained, that he had put no such construc- 
tion upon the language of the gentleman from Jefferson. 

Mr. SCATES. Let it pass, then, I so understood the gentle- 
man to represent my colleague. When interrupted, he was about 
saying that he had known candidates for the Legislature to canvass 
their counties, and pledge themselves to carry out retrenchment 
and reform, and to be elected. Yet these same men, who, when 
they came here, were resolved to carry out their pledges, have 
been voted down, and, until finding they were unable to do so, 
have abandoned the object. When he saw this, he could well say 
that he had lost all confidence in the Legislature. The Legislature 
was too large, and he greatly feared that in this body of 162 
members it would be found impracticable to carry out the prin- 
ciples of economy and retrenchment. When he had opposed the 
scheme to economize one-half dollar in the pay of the clerks and 
doorkeepers of this House, he did so because he did not think it 
was in our power to pass a resolution of the kind, and that the 
subject was too insignificant. Now there was a great opportunity 
to introduce retrenchment into the government, and gentlemen 
who had made speeches then upon economy had now an oppor- 



SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 1847 139 

tunity of showing their sincerity. Let them vote for the smallest 
number. He was told that lUinoians were too proud to pay a 
poll tax. This pride would be our ruin. When we propose to 
economize in the legislative department we are told that the 
people of Illinois are too proud to submit; that they will never 
consent to mingle counties into districts, and that the county lines 
must be kept up. And this, too, when we were not in a condition 
to pay the interest on our debt. He was prepared to show that 
we could add to the funds for the liquidation of our debt, by this 
proposed reduction of the number and pay of the members of the 
Legislature, and that, too, in considerable amount, without any 
increase of taxation. — The expenses of the last Legislature 
amounted — including per diem, mileage, printing of laws, station- 
ery, fuel and other expenses — to $77,659.59. — This was for 
the Legislature composed of 162 members. Now the question 
was, how much could we retrench of this sum, without injuring 
the public interest? Mr. S. then read several tabular statements 
showing the reduction in the amount of expenses of the Legislature 
that would follow the adoption of a smaller delegation, and the 
annual saving to the State. We give the substance. The cost 
of a session of the Legislature, composed of 60 members, allowed 
$2 per day — session limited to 60 days — would be $13,766.14. 
This compared with the last Legislature would be a deduction of 
$63,872.91. The printing would be reduced, the stationery 
and the number of laws would be reduced. Thus there would be 
an annual saving of over $31,891, to go to the payment of our 
interest on the State debt, without any further taxation. The 
expenses, at the same rates, of a house of 70 members, would be 
$15,500 — and the saving would be about $30,000 a year. At 80 
in the Legislature, the expenses would be $16,500, and the annual 
saving would be nearly $30,000. — Fix the number at 100 members, 
and the cost would be $19,000, a yearly saving of $28,500. This 
was a considerable saving, which, under the present circumstances 
of the State, it was very desirable should be made. 

But if gentlemen would calculate the difference between 
the cost and expense that would be incurred by having one hundred 
members in the Legislature, with that of the number proposed by 
him — sixty — they would find that in thirty years it would amount 



I40 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

to 1 144,000. He had no hopes that in thirty years our debt would 
be paid, yet he thought that our creditors would be rejoiced to 
hear that in that time they would receive that amount. Suppose 
they were to ask us, would we not pay them $140,000 in thirty 
years, would not we be glad to have it in our power to promise 
them we would? They are now here in the lobby looking upon 
your actions, they are watching whether we will suffer any oppor- 
tunity of saving money to pay them their dues to pass by without 
embracing it. Look at them and think of the large claims they 
hold against the State, and forget your constituents. — Do not 
oppose it because you have too much pride to allow your 
county to lose a representative. Gentlemen say that 60 
members cannot legislate for the whole State of Illinois; cannot 
represent her different interests. How do seven members in 
Congress so well represent this large areaof territory and advance 
the interests of the people? When they say that one man cannot 
know and represent the sentiments of several counties is not 
correct, if so, what becomes of the propriety of your present sena- 
torial districts ? New York has an extent of territory of 47,000 
square miles, but little less than our own. We have a population 
of 670,000, and New York has 1,968,000. New York has fixed as 
a ratio of representation 11,000 to a delegate. She has a popula- 
tion of 43 to a square mile. Illinois has only 3. Her legislature 
is composed of only 163 members to represent her large and 
diversified interests. She has agricultural, manufacturing and 
commercial interests. We have but one — agriculture. Our popu- 
lation is not so diversified, we have but little mechanical, and 
comparatively no manufacturing interests. We have but one 
principal interest to be represented, and that is agriculture. 
Gentlemen have cited New York as a model. They were willing 
to follow New York in every thing. If New York adopts a bad 
system of general banking, they immediately gave up and adopted 
it. N. York had adopted it and the matter was settled. New 
York had a vast amount of revenue arising from the canals; it had 
a large amount of taxable property. Illinois had not been, and 
at the present time was not, able to pay the interest on its 
debt. She was emphatically able to owe it. He would call their 
attention to the State of New Jersey, which had a population of 



SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 1847 141 

520,000, and she has a limit in her constitution upon the number 
of her Legislature to 60. Is New Jersey in debt, or unwilling to 
pay what she owes, or suspected ofa design to swindle her creditors? 
No; but she has thought proper to guard against a too large and 
extravagant Legislature, and is an example we might safely follow. 
Pennsylvania has provided that her legislative body shall not 
exceed one hundred. Are we willing under our circumstances to 
go up to the same limit with the great State of Pennsylvania, with 
so many diversified interests. We are still issuing large 
numbers of Auditor's warrants to pay these members, they are 
floating all over the State at a depreciated value. You may 
knock in vain at the doors of your treasury for their redemption. 
And now there will be a large amount, say ^50,000, issued to pay for 
this Convention. And gentlemen are talking of paying the 
State debt, when they are unwilling to reduce the number of the 
Legislature, and reduce the fast growing amount of Auditor's 
warrants. Let us go to another State that has prospered under 
her legislation, and which would be a more proper model for us 
than New York. Go to Ohio. A State with a large population 
engaged in agriculture, literature, commerce and every branch of 
trade. Her march has been onward. And she has limited her 
Legislature to seventy-two — I am told it is eighty-two. Admit 
it, but compare her population to the square mile with ours; her 
prosperity with ours; and the number of her Legislature with ours. 
The constitution of that State says the number may be as low as 36. 
If we follow the example of any State, I think we should follow 
that State. Indiana has limited her number to one hundred. 
Shall we step at once to the maximum? Let gentlemen 
adopt the lowest number now, and let the Legislature advance to 
the maximum when our population shall have increased and our 
State has not creditors. Louisiana has an immense commerce 
compared with Illinois, yet this State — the great cotton State — 
has fixed her maximum at sixty-four members of the Legislature. 
And we are scouted at when we propose to reduce our number to 
the same. Alabama has fixed the limit of her Legislature to one 
hundred, and I believe is now legislating with a less number. 
That State has a territory of 50,000 square miles. The State of 
Maine has a larger ratio of representatives than any State in the 



142 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Union. Her limit is not below one hundred, nor above two 
hundred; but in that State, and I believe in most of the New 
England States, they allow every town a representative, the town 
or county paying all expenses of the members. Arkansas has 
limited the number to one hundred. — Missouri, too, has adopted 
the same number. She is larger in territory than Illinois, and 
though her population is less, the interests of her people are more 
diversified. She has a larger commercial and a mineral inter- 
est to be represented. He thought that if because the State 
had been heretofore cut up into an extravagant number of counties 
we were to allow each county a representative in the Legislature, 
we had better go to work and organize the State over again. Did 
you notice the touchiness of the gentleman from Hardin? A 
county that has ever had a representative will never surrender it; 
the people are too proud to submit to it. Illinoians had become 
so proud because they had had a chance to fight and fought well, 
that they won't pay taxes, is another fact of the gentleman. They 
had been favored with panegyrics upon their brave who had 
fallen, and upon the fighting of their troops. Fighting was one 
thing and paying taxes another; and collectors when they called 
on the people for the amount of their tax would not be put off by 
these answers, which gentlemen put into their mouths. Our 
character, as a State anxious and desirous to adopt every means 
in our power to pa.y our debt, will be served abroad by our reducing 
the number of our Legislature, and the amount of our expenses. 
I hope, for the saving of $144,000 in thirty years — the probable 
length of time this constitution will continue in force — gentlemen 
will adopt the number I have proposed. It is also said, that 
members won't serve for $1 a day; they get men in the State of 
Kentucky to perform the duties of legislators for that sum. The 
expenses of the last Legislature are yet unpaid, the warrants for 
them are in circulation yet; moreover, there were Jioo,ooo appro- 
priated besides, by the Legislature, all of which are yet out and 
unpaid. 

We could easily see the reduction that could be made, were we 
to have a called session. 

The people of my county say the Convention was called too 
soon; that the day of confirmation is fixed too soon, and I would 



SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 1847 143 

prefer that the election should take place so as the result might be 
known just before the August elections of next year. He hoped 
the Convention would, in justice to the honor of the State, and to 
wipe off the suspicion of a design to cheat that now hangs over us, 
go for the reduction of the number. Now is the time. All the 
people demand it. All speak of retrenchment, and here is an 
opportunity to accomplish it. 

Mr. HARDING. The county I represent has a desire to have 
a representative in the Legislature. The last number proposed 
will deprive us of all chance of a member. We have a population 
of 6,000 and the Legislature has attached us to Knox county. 
Knox county has a population of 10,000, and they give her one 
member. Knox and Warren are entitled to one member, and we 
have to depend on the magnanimity of the people of Knox whether 
we ever have a member from our county or not. Population is 
not the fairest basis of representation, it should be taxation and 
territory. All counties have an interest as counties — a county 
interest, and it should be represented. Sangamon, for instance, 
has an interest, a county interest, a Sangamon interest, which is 
very different from that of any other county. They, in apportion- 
ing, throw the fraction from large counties and attach it to a 
smaller county, and this is unfair. The gentleman from Jefferson 
may well speak of reducing the representation. His county has 
two representatives, and pays but |i,2SO a year for taxes. Warren 
county pays $4,000. Jackson county pays $1,800 for taxes and 
has a representative and a half, we pay $4,000 and have none. Let 
every county have one member. Go to Pennsylvania, her con- 
stitution says that every county shall have a representative, no 
matter what the population is. Take Cook county, I can see the 
time when Chicago will have a population of 100,000, and then 
take a small agricultural county which has no representative, but 
is thrown in with Cook, what change of the agricultural interest 
being represented there? 

Jackson and Williamson counties have a large extent of terri- 
tory but they pay no tax. The rule of putting several counties 
into one senatorial district, is well enough, because the Senate is 
the conservative branch. 

Give every county a representative, and you will avoid all 



144 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

complaints about gerrymandering. A large extent of territory 
requires a larger representation than a large population. The 
Legislature is to make laws for all the counties, and if the small 
counties are deprived of their representatives, they have no voice 
in the assessment of taxes. In the proposed plan property is 
thrown out of view. He who has property has an interest in the 
country, and the greater part of the taxes comes from the landhold 
interest. There are those who are engaged in professions and other 
occupations who derive large incomes and who pay no taxes, but 
are fully represented under the population basis. 

Mr. LOUDON said, he must reply to some of the remarks of 
the gentleman who had been somewhat personal. He said prop- 
erty should be the basis of representation. He steps down to 
Jackson and Williamson and there makes some calculations; he 
then steps up to Cook and there was quite unfortunate. If he 
carries his principle of a property representation into operation as a 
basis, he would, standing alongside Cook county, soon find himself 
like a musquito [sic] in the stern wheel of a steamboat. He 
(Mr. L.) was from a poor county, and was one of the poorest of the 
poor in that county, yet, he, and the people of his county, were 
perfectly willing to run the chance of being united with other 
counties and of having a joint representative. Gentlemen should go 
into the canvass then as into a game, take all the chances, enter into 
the spirit of the game. Let him present himself as a candidate; the 
people will ask him is he qualified to go to the Legislature. He 
answers, I think I am; then the people will say, we'll examine you 
and see if you are. Let him go then into the contest, and if he 
struggles, if he has hope, even as large as a grain of mustard seed, 
he can remove anything, he can remove mountains. Let him go 
to Williamson county, and he will find that there are as many 
there, who are as anxious to go to the Legislature as anywhere else. 
Don't be discouraged; don't be frightened at the chances of not 
getting back. The argument of gentlemen don't hold good, sup- 
pose you do give every county a representative, the large counties 
will then have more — two or three — in proportion and the small 
counties will be in exactly the same minority. No man repre- 
senting several counties dare neglect to represent the interests of 
the small ones. 



SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 1847 145 

He need not be afraid of gerrymandering, there will not be any 
more of that in one way than in another. Though Williamson 
county is poor and her population is small, she has raised some 
cute chaps, who, when they grow up, move off into other parts of 
the State and become rich; they cannot get rich down there. Let 
them put Williamson county along with some others and give them 
all one representative, why, there will be a number of candidates 
from all counties, and the longest pole will knock the most per- 
simmons. All the people required was a sufficient number in the 
Legislature to do the business, and a surplus was just as great a 
nuisance as any other article on a man's hands for which there 
was no demand. 

A motion was made to adjourn till Monday next. 

Mr. CHURCHILL demanded the yeas and nays. Which were 
ordered. 

Mr. HURLBUT and others appealed to him to withdraw the 
demand, that the object was to enable the committees to hold 
their meetings; the demand not being withdrawn, the motion was 
withdrawn, and the Convention adjourned till 3 p. m. 

AFTERNOON 

Mr. WHITNEY differed from the gentleman who had said 
there was a manifest desire on the part of the Convention to close 
the debate on the question. He thought not. Retrenchment 
and reform had been sounded in his ears so much, had been the 
subject of so many gentlemen's speeches, that he even heard 
retrenchment and reform at the corner of the streets. It was now 
proposed to carry out retrenchment and reform by depriving the 
people of the right of representation, the grand characteristic of a 
free government, and the most sacred of all privileges, and that 
for the purpose of paying the public debt in thirty years. He was 
certain the people would pay every dollar of the debt; they were 
anti-repudiators; they desired to pay it, but not by giving up their 
right of representation. He did not think that the debt could be 
paid in thirty years, nor would any one there now,^who might live 
thirty years, see the debt paid. He was no repudiator,^he paid 
his taxes and would continue to do so, but would never consent to 
give up any of the people's right to be heard in their legislative 



146 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

halls. He was opposed at the time, to the passage of the act by 
which that debt had been created. It had been said that it was 
unwise legislation. He thought so too, but knowing well the 
manoeuvering that had been practised by people about here to 
procure the passage of that bill, he was greatly of opinion that the 
Legislature that made the law was not only unwise but a little 
corrupt. Unwise they certainly were. He did not care if the 
State creditors were in the lobby looking at the acts of the Conven- 
tion. He had heard the same cry before, when the great internal 
improvement bill was before them. Then it was said that the 
capitalists were here in the lobby with the money in their hands 
and that the eyes of the world were upon us to see if we would be 
such fools as to let that opportunity pass by, of enriching our State 
by means of canals and railroads, &c. I am unwilling, even for 
the purpose of paying the debt, to say that a republican form of 
government shall be abandoned. To forego the right of repre- 
sentation to pay men, who were as much to blame for the creation 
of that debt as we are. How are we to save this $144,000 in 
thirty years? — by cutting down the number of representatives of 
the people.'' He would not even say he was willing to cut down 
the pay of the members of the Legislature to %i a day — %"! a day 
in Auditor's warrants! Farmers and mechanics who may come 
here cannot afford to pay for board equal to what they have on 
their own table, at that rate. He would go for restricting the 
amount they should receive each session. If gold and silver were 
paid, then there might be something saved, but not when they 
were paid in Auditor's warrants. I hope to see no longer the 
sheriffs running about the counties, buying up the Auditor's 
warrants with the gold and silver they received from the people's 
pockets for taxes, and then making returns in the warrants. New 
York had been cited. N. Y. was his native State and he loved her, 
but he loved Illinois more; if a good plan was proposed he did not 
care where it [had] come from. New York has 128 members in 
the lower house, and they are apportioned by territory. She has 
fifty-nine counties and each county has one representative, then 
after that population is the basis, and 37,680 is the ratio for 
representatives. When I first came here I lived in Peoria, and 
our represe[n]tative had so great an extent of territory to repre- 



SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 1847 147 

sent that he might as well have been in the British Parliament so 
far as our interests were concerned, as at Vandalia. He remem- 
bered the time when Jo Daviess county furnished representatives 
for nine counties, and they generally forget our interests in that 
of the interests of Jo Daviess. The whole of those representatives 
went in for that bill against the wishes and opinions of the people 
of my county, as well as of the adjoining counties. 

If the report of this committee be adopted, eighteen counties 
will hold the balance of power in the house, and control the whole 
State; and the rest of the counties may as well not be represented 
at all. These eighteen counties will be entitled to thirty-eight 
representatives — a majority of the whole — if population be made 
the basis of representation. He hoped every county would have 
a representative. — He was not to be frightened because of what 
had been said about small counties. He had seen too much, since 
yesterday, of gentlemen making calculations of how many repre- 
sentatives their counties would have. He was sure every county 
would be willing to pay the per diem of its member, rather 
than go without one. 

Property, also, should be the basis of representation, and the 
unanswerable speech of the gentleman from Warren, showed this 
fact. If this reduction be adopted, and there should be other 
exceptions to the constitution, it will endanger its confirmation by 
the people. His county, with 1200 voters, would go against it. 
He would like to see the constitution adopted by an overwhelming 
majority, but this would endanger it. He meant this not as a 
taunt, but as a fact. No man so poor as would be willing that the 
bed should be taken from under him, and his wife's and children's 
clothing should be sold for taxes, to pay our debt, nor did he 
think our creditors would think the better of us if we refused 
to have an aristocracy here, and abandon the right of the people to 
be represented in the hall of the Legislature. It was one of the 
great essentials of a free government. A representative govern- 
ment was the terror of tyrants. If gentlemen pass this law, he 
would go for a total abandonment of representation, and have the 
administration of government in the hands of the executive and 
the supreme courts, it would be just as well for the small counties 
as to have no representation. 



148 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. WILLIAMS was greatly astonished to hear a single 
member on that floor declare himself ready to attach the pruning 
knife to the salaries of the judges where but a small sum was to be 
saved, and not touch the Legislature at all. He was in favor of 
sixty members, and was satisfied that they could administer the 
government with justice and fidelity to all the interests in the 
State. He thought that if the people desired to guard against 
bribery, they should select men of integrity, to represent them, 
that is the proper guard and not the number. He would vote 
against striking out. 

Mr. KENNER was not in favor of a large representation, but 
thought that every county should have a representative. Every 
county had an interest of its own to be represented, and he thought 
that if we once denied that interest a representation in the popular 
branch of the Legislature, that you might as well abolish the house 
altogether. If each county should not be allowed to have a 
representative, he would vote for the smallest number that would 
be proposed. If one member could represent four counties, why 
not represent twenty? We see one branch of the Legislature 
representing county rights, the other representing the interests of 
the State, at large, thus operating as a check, one upon the other. 
Once destroy this principle of a representation of county rights, 
and why not throw both houses into one, and thus save the whole 
expense. As it is the interest of the State to have a general repre- 
sentation, why not let each county have one representative. — We 
would then steer clear of aristocracy and anarchy. He had merely 
risen to express his views. 

Mr. THORNTON represented a large and a small county, and 
desired to make some remarks explanatory of the reasons which 
should control his vote. If he knew the sentiments of his constitu- 
ents upon any subject, he thought he did upon this. They were, 
and so was he, in favor of a smaller number to compose the Legis- 
lature than that reported by the committee. To hear gentlemen 
talk, one would suppose that there was a Chinese wall between 
the several counties of the State. There are not those diversified 
interests here, as in other States. He would vote against striking 
out, for fear of getting a large number; but if the motion to strike 



SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 1847 149 

out prevailed, he would vote for the smallest number. He would 
vote for the report for a compromise. 

Mr. KNAPP of Jersey read a proposition which contained his 
own views of the question, yet he would vote for the report of the 
committee. He could not agree with the gentlemen who desired 
that each county should have a representative. — Such a course 
would increase the number beyond that which was necessary. 
Speaking of retrenchment, our constituents are looking to us for 
no greater move in retrenchment than that which can be affected 
in the legislative department. He represented a county which 
would, under the plan reported by the committee, lose its repre- 
sentative, yet, he was willing to forego the privilege of represen- 
tation, for the purpose of lessening the number of the Legislature. 
He agreed with much that had fallen from the gentleman from 
Jefferson, but he feared that even after adopting all the economy 
proposed, we would not realize the promised reduction of the State 
debt. He would vote for the report of the committee, fearful 
that if the numbers therein should be stricken out, that a larger 
one might be adopted, and for fear, also, that if reduced so 
suddenly, we might lose the constitution. And then, in addition 
to all the evils which we experience now, will be the great cost of 
this Convention. 

He did not think that the census of 1845 was a proper basis 
upon which to district the State; because under it we cannot do 
justice to the great increase of population that has taken place 
since then. He was in favor of fixing the number low at present 
and increase the representation according to the increase of the 
population. We should embrace every opportunity that is offered 
to save money, and I think there will be no one where we can save 
so much as in the present case. Let us reduce the number of 
representatives in the Legislature, which, as has been shown, is 
the greatest of all extravagances. He agreed with the gentleman 
who said he was in favor of allowing a fair and reasonable 
compensation to the judges; let us leave those places which are 
small in themselves and where there is a fair return of services 
for the pay, and turn our attention to the curtailment of the ex- 
travagancies of the Legislatures. 

Mr. SINGLETON. The committee have reported the very 



I50 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

number I advocated when a candidate before the people for a seat 
in this Convention. Still I am in favor of a smaller number. He 
was greatly surprised to hear gentlemen say that territory should 
be the basis of representation. What do we represent — the people 
or the naked territory? The population as a ratio was said to be 
democratic doctrine, and he, though not a democrat, at least of the 
present day, was in favor of it. He could not see the difficulty in 
reducing the number of representatives or of putting two or more 
counties into one district. He would be perfectly satisfied to 
have the gentleman from Pike, or the gentleman from Schuyler, 
represent Brown in the Legislature. He did not think Brown 
possessed all the capacity. This would break up this local legis- 
lation, and it was this local legislation which had involved us in 
all our difficulties. If gentlemen were so extremely democratic 
as to declare that territory is the only true basis of representation, 
why not extend the right of representation not only to counties 
but to townships also. Why, at present, if a man is elected from 
one side of a county, the people on the other side say they are not 
represented. The town of Quincy has an interest different from 
that of Mt. Sterling, yet if their representative should be elected 
from Quincy he did not know that it must affect Mt. Sterling. If 
we give a representative for territory, it is a property qualification, 
a land representation, and then why not estimate every species of 
property and give it a representation. Territory was no more 
than a land or real property qualification, and not more entitled to 
a representation than any other species of property. Gentlemen 
had said that if we made the districts so large, that none but 
lawyers could get elected as representatives. This was but a poor 
argument, and one of those long standing means of raising prej- 
udices against lawyers or doctors. He thought that clerks of 
circuit courts were as fond and as desirous of coming to the Legis- 
lature, of holding an office, or two or three of them, if they could 
get them, as anybody else. He thought it very undignified in his 
colleague to speak in this manner. It required judgment and 
discretion to administer the government and not numbers; the only 
advantage in having large bodies is that the wants of the people 
can be made known; if sixty can do this, then sixty is 
enough. If a less number can do it, why then a less number is 



SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 1847 151 

sufficient. He was not in favor of a large number and then 
reducing their pay to the very lowest, but he was in favor of a 
small number, and allowing them a fair compensation. If the 
State was in good circumstances he would be glad to see them 
receive good pay. 

Mr. THOMPSON wished to define his position before his 
constituents, and to offer a few remarks injustice to the committee, 
of which he had the honor to be a member. There were a num- 
ber of propositions before the committee, none of them, however, 
exceeding one hundred. The number for the Senate was gener- 
ally low, three, and sometimes four, to one. He thought at first 
that the number as reported by the committee was a little too 
large, and would have voted for the motion to strike out, but, 
now, fearing that he might hazard the reduction, he would vote 
against striking out. Gentlemen had alluded to the State of 
Massachusetts, which he did not think was a fair example. The 
large number of representatives in the State of Massachusetts was 
the result of incorporations. When that state was first settled 
the inhabitants were nearly all gathered into small communities 
on the coast; these soon were made into incorporations, and after- 
wards, when the State became more closely settled, and the people 
in the interior increased, they were incorporated and were allowed 
a representative. And when the corporations were increased, 
they, too, claimed a representative and obtained it. In this way 
then, had that State increased her representatives to a great 
number. 

In this discussion, he had observed the same two great traits of 
human nature — pride and interest. It was my county, my town- 
ship, and my people. It reminded him of a toast given by a 
Connecticut farmer at an agricultural dinner, given in that State. 
It was this; "Here's to the United States, the garden of the world; 
here's to the State of Connecticut, the garden of the United States; 
here's to the County of Wyndam, the garden of the State of 
Connecticut; and here's to my farm, the garden of the County of 
Wyndham." 

There was a burst of patriotism! 

Messrs. Logan and Scates continued the debate at much 
length; the former advocating the adoption of the report and in 



152 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

opposition to the motion to strike out. The latter, in reply to 
Mr. L., in support of his views as expressed by him in the morning, 
and in advocacy of the motion to strike out. The great length to 
which the debate was extended, has compelled us to defer the 
publication of the remarks of these gentlemen. 

Mr. HOGUE was satisfied that if he understood the senti- 
ments of the people whom he represented upon any subject, that 
he did on the subject of the number of the Legislature. His con- 
stituents were of one opinion and that was that the number should 
be reduced below one hundred. He was in favor of striking out, 
and would go for the number of eighty — ninety as the excess. 
He would oppose all over ninety and vote for any number less. 
He was satisfied that the gentleman from Edwards had not 
expressed the views of his constituents. We had spoken together 
before the people upon this subject, and he had agreed with me 
that the number should be reduced. 

Mr. KENNER. No, sir, we did not. 

Mr. HOGUE reiterated that they had. 

Mr. CALDWELL asked that the question should be divided 
so as to [be] taken, first on striking out75, and then onstrikingout25. 
And the vote being taken separately, both motions were lost. 

Mr. DEITZ moved to amend the resolution so as to s[t]rike 
out "Legislative committee" and insert "that a committee of one 
from each of the senatorial districts shall be appointed, who shall 
proceed to divide the State into senatorial and representative 
districts." 

Mr. SHERMAN moved to amend the amendment by striking 
out "one" and inserting "three," and striking out "senatorial" 
and inserting "judicial." 

And then, on motion, the Convention adjourned till Monday 
next. 



XII. MONDAY, JUNE 21, 1847 

Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Bergen. 

Mr. ROBBINS moved a suspension of the rules to enable him 
to offer a resolution, that the Convention should now proceed to 
the election of an assistant secretary, to copy the journal for 
publication; and the rules were suspended. The vote was then 
taken on the adoption of the resolution, and it was lost — yeas 40, 
nays not counted. 

A motion to re-consider was made and lost — yeas 38. 

Mr. MINSHALL offered (the rules being suspended) a resolu- 
tion; which was laid on the table. 

Mr. SCATES offered a resolution calling for information from 
the clerks of the circuit courts of the State. 

Mr. DAVIS, of Montgomery, opposed the resolution because 
of the impossibility of its being satisfactorily answered, and 
because of the great cost which it would be to the State. 

Mr. DEMENT moved to lay the resolution on the table. 
Carried. 

Mr. SHERMAN (the report of the committee on the Legis- 
lative Department and the amendment thereto being taken up,) 
said, that his object in moving the amendment proposed by him 
on Saturday was, that it was more usual to select the committees 
from the judicial districts of the State — there being nine judicial 
districts, and taking three from each would make the committee 
consist of twenty-seven members. This was large enough, and 
they ought to be able to arrive at the proper apportionment. He 
had not made this proposed amendment from any feeling of 
distrust in the committee on Legislative Business, but because he 
thought this committee would be better able to perform the duty, 
they coming from all parts of the State, and their labor might be 
more satisfactory to the people. He was of opinion that no 
standing committee, unless selected for the purpose, could give 
the same satisfaction as one chosen from the several sections of 
the State. It was well known that the districting the State would 
153 



154 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS ■ 

create much feeling any way, and he thought the mode which 
would be the least objectionable would be the better. 

Mr. WHITNEY was in hopes that the amendment would 
prevail. By the selection of the committee in this way, territory 
would be more likely to be represented. He advocated the 
appointment of this select committee, not from any feeling of 
distrust in the standing committee, but because he thought a 
committee selected from each judicial district could better repre- 
sent the views and interests of the several counties than one 
selected in any other way. 

Mr. DEITZ withdrew his amendment. 

Mr. SINGLETON offered an amendment to the amendment. 

Mr. KITCHELL explained the reasons why he had moved, 
on Saturday, to lay the amendments on the table. It was not 
for the purpose of defeating the appointment of a select committee, 
but to test the propriety of the Convention undertaking the task 
of districting the State, instead of leaving it to the Legislature. 

Mr. THOMAS moved to lay the amendment to the amend- 
ment on the table; which motion was carried — yeas 76, nays 55. 

Mr. HARDING offered an amendment to the amendment, 
which, on motion, was laid on the table. 

He also offered another amendment to the amendment, pro- 
viding that no one county shall be entitled to more than one 
representative nor one senator. 

Mr. SINGLETON moved to lay this amendment to the 
amendment on the table; which was decided in the affirmative — 
yeas 69, nays 60. 

Mr.HARDING offered another amendment to the amendment. 

Mr. EDWARDS, of Madison, moved to lay the whole subject 
on the table; a division of the question was demanded, and the 
vote being taken on laying the amendment to the amendment on 
the table, it was lost — yeas 49; and then the motion to lay the 
amendment on the table was decided in the negative. 

Mr. HAYES offered the following as a substitute for the 
amendment to the amendment, which was accepted: 

"Provided, That when more than one county is thrown into 
one representative district, the entire number of representatives 



MONDAY, JUNE 21, 1847 155 

to which those counties may be entitled shall be elected by the 
entire district." 

Mr. GEDDES advocated, briefly, the adoption of the proviso. 

Mr. WEAD considered that the amendment, as it was proposed 
by the gentleman from Warren, contained the true and correct 
principle in relation to the matter, but that the modification 
offered by the gentleman from White, and which had been accept- 
ed, did not; but a principle that was calculated to do much injury 
to the rights of the larger counties. 

Mr. TURNBULL agreed with the gentleman last up, and 
opposed the principle of representation or apportionment as pro- 
vided by that amendment. 

Mr. ARCHER, also, opposed the amendment as one not at 
all calculated to do justice to the rights of those counties who had 
a fraction of population above the ratio entitling them to a repre- 
sentation. — He stated several examples wherein he thought the 
injustice of the plan was fully demonstrated. 

Mr. McCALLEN was a representative of a small county, and, 
under the present system, was not represented in the Legislature. 
At present the county of Gallatin was entitled to two representa- 
tives, and Gallatin and Hardin one. The people of Gallatin had 
the right to vote for three representatives and the people of Hardin 
but for a half a representative. Under the proposed plan of the 
amendment, the people of Hardin would have nothing more than 
what was just, the right of having a vote of equal weight with 
that of the people of Gallatin. 

Mr. CHURCHILL was not in favor of the apportionments by 
the committee. He had drawn up his views, and were it not now 
out of order would offer them as an amendment. He would read 
to the Convention his plan, as a part of his remarks: Provided 
that the Senate districts shall be composed of entire counties, 
and that the county commissioners of each county composing the 
several Senate districts be authorized, either by themselves or one 
of their number, to meet at some proper place in the district and 
organize the Senate districts into separate representative districts 
according to population, as near as may be. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery was in favor of the plan suggested 
by the amendment proposed by the gentleman from White. He 



IS6 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

thought it not only just to the large counties, but the best mode 
of apportionment for those small counties that had not 
sufficient population to entitle them to a member. 

Messrs. Brockman and Woodson, both, advocated the amend- 
ment to the amendment, as the best thing for the interests of the 
smaller counties. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess opposed the amendment as 
containing a plan to elect the General Assembly by general ticket, 
and as unjust to the larger counties, by permitting the small 
ones to vote for the whole ticket, and thereby controlling, per- 
haps, the election of the representatives of that county to which 
they might be attached. Thus giving the voters of a county 
which had not sufficient population to entitle them to one mem- 
ber a voice in the election of three or four. 

Messrs. Hurlbut and Dement, both, opposed the amendment. 

Mr. HARVEY agreed with the gentleman from Jo Daviess in 
his view of the matter. He looked upon it as nothing more than 
a plan to elect the General Assembly by general ticket. The 
county of Knox had a population of ten thousand and would be 
entitled to a member, then by adding to it the county of Warren 
and the fraction of some other county, they, together, would be 
entitled to another; this was not anything more than just. But 
by adding those two to the county of Knox they would be entitled 
to two members, which under the plan proposed would have to be 
elected by a general vote of the three counties. By this Knox 
county might be controlled in the choice of her representatives, 
and that for the gratification of Warren. He had no particular 
desire that his county should be married forever to Warren, and 
hoped that some way would be discovered that he might procure 
a divorce. He moved the indefinite postponement of all the 
amendments, because he thought the discussion at present 
premature. 

Mr. LOGAN did not agree with the plan proposed by the 
gentleman in all its details. He had drawn up an amendment 
which he would like to see carried out. He read it to the Con- 
vention. It proposes that when one or more small counties shall 
be added to a large one having a surplus over and above the ratio, 
that the large county shall vote for its own representative and for 



MONDAY, JUNE 21, 1847 157 

the one to which the joint fractions are entitled. But before the 
judges shall proceed to give a certificate they shall count all the 
votes and after calculating the proportion the whole vote of the 
county bears to the fraction over and above the ratio, in the same 
proportion shall the vote cast by the large county for the repre- 
sentative for the smaller ones and itself, bear in the general vote 
between the candidates. Mr. L. explained the proposition and 
urged that the only thing required was to have sheriffs and judges 
of elections competent to work a sum in the rule of three. 

Mr. HAYES defended the plan of apportionment submitted 
by him and pointed out the difficulties attending the practical 
operation of the plan of the member from Sangamon. 

The Convention than adjourned till 3 p. m. 

AFTERNOON 

Mr. DEMENT opposed the plan of the gentleman from White 
in a few remarks. 

Mr. GREGG was opposed to the Legislature undertaking the 
task of districting the State at all; but if it was to be done he was 
in favor of the amendment. 

Messrs. Kinney of Bureau and Knapp of Jersey opposed the 
amendment. 

Mr. WILLIAMS replied briefly to Mr. K. of Jersey, and 
declared himself in favor of the amendment. 

Mr. CHURCHILL still further opposed any mode of appor- 
tionment of the State by the Convention anc^ read a series of 
propositions that he had prepared on the subject and which he 
had submitted to some friends for their approval. 

Mr. DEITZ advocated the adoption of single districts. 

Mr. SHUMWAY expressed his opposition to the plan of 
apportionment before them, and was followed by Mr. Farwell 
on the same side. 

Mr. LOGAN was in favor of an apportionment by the Conven- 
tion, but he thought that before we discussed the mode, we had 
better take a vote to ascertain whether the Convention would 
undertake to apportion the State or not. With that view he 
moved to lay all the amendments and that portion of the resolution 
which provides for the districting the State, on the table. 



158 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. HARDING withdrew his modified amendment for the 
present; and the vote being taken on laying the amendment (Mr. 
Sherman's) on the table, it was lost. 

Mr. HARDING then renewed his amendment and it was 
adopted, and then the amendment as amended was adopted, and 
the resolution passed. 

Mr. SERVANT presented a petition from a large number of 
citizens of Randolph county praying an extension of all rights to 
every class without distinction of color, and moved its reference 
to the committee on elections and right of suffrage. Carried. 

A communication from the Auditor, in reply to a call for infor- 
mation was read: it contained an account of the expenses of the 
last Legislature. 

Mr. THOMAS moved that it lie on the table and 200 copies 
thereof be printed 

Mr. LOGAN moved that the number be 1,000. Ordered. 

Mr. HENDERSON moved that the Secretary of State be 
requested to furnish the Convention with a statement of the last 
census, and that when furnished 200 copies be printed. 

On motion, laid on the table. 

On motion, the Convention adjourned. 



XIII. TUESDAY, JUNE 22, 1847 

Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Bailey.^^ 

The following gentlemen compose the committee to district 
the State into senatorial and representative districts: 

Gregg, Whiteside, Whitney, Archer, Armstrong, Davis of 
Massac, Sim, Hogue, Davis of McLean, Kitchell, Knapp of Jersey, 
Palmer of Macoupin, Dummer, Edmonson, West, Farwell, Pratt, 
McClure, Shumway, Vance, Harvey, Pinckney, Harlan, Hunsaker, 
Jackson, Minshall and Hill. 

Mr. ARCHER, from the committee on the Organization of 
Departments, and Officers Connected with the Executive Depart- 
ment, reported back sundry resolutions which had been referred 
to said committee, and asked to be discharged from the further 
consideration thereof. Agreed to. 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin moved to take up certain reso- 
lutions, offered by him some days before, and refer them to the 
Judiciary committee, which after they had been modified, were so 
referred. 

Mr. SCATES moved to take up the resolutions offered by him 
yesterday calling for information from the circuit court clerks, &c. 

Mr. WHITNEY advocated the adoption of the resolution, 
because the committee were of opinion that the information was 
needed, and the Convention should pass the call for the same. 

Mr. MARSHALL of Mason could see no necessity for the 
adoption of the resolution. The information required by it would 
impose an immense amount of labor on the clerks of the courts, 
which could not be performed for many weeks, so that it was 
highly probable that whatever information would be furnished, 

^Gilbert S. Bailey: October 1, 1846-October, 1849, pastor of the 
First Baptist Church of Springfield; November 7, 1850, assisted in the organ- 
ization of the First Baptist Church of Pekin, Tazewell County; 1852-1855, 
pastor and school teacher at Pekin. 

Bateman and Selby, Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois; History of Sanga- 
mon County, 2: 880; Inter-State Publishing Company, ffiitory o/ 5awgofnon 
County, 606; Bateman and Selby, Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois; History 
of Tazewell County, 2: 924-925. 

159 



i6o ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

would not be ready for the use of the Convention for six weeks, a 
period when he expected the duties of the Convention would have 
been performed. He hoped it would not be taken up, and, on a 
division, the motion to take up the resolution was lost. 

Mr. HAYES offered a resolution referring certain parts of the 
constitution to the committee on Law Reform, and also instructing 
that committee to inquire into the expediency of abolishing all 
differences between courts of chancery and common law, also the 
modification of the laws and the abolition of all English statutes 
now in force. 

Mr. CHURCH thought this resolution properly belonged to 
the consideration of the committee on the Judiciary; he thought 
there was a manifest inclination to deprive that committee of its 
proper subjects by giving them to the committee on Law Reform. 

Mr. DAVIS of McLean thought the committee on Law 
Reform was peculiarly the proper committee to take charge of the 
inquiry contemplated in the present resolution. 
|t&, Mr. HAYES said, that in offering the resolution he did not 
think of committing himself in its favor; the subject was one which 
had been spoken of by many persons, and by legal men, and he 
hoped the reference would be made so that the subject might be 
examined. Motion carried. 

Mr. KENNER moved to take up a resolution, offered by him 
some days ago, with a view of referring it to a committee. Motion 
lost. 

Mr. WEST offered a resolution that the Convention proceed 
to the election of an assistant secretary to copy the journal of the 
Convention. 

Mr. THOMAS offered a substitute providing that the secretary 
shall select an assistant secretary at a compensation of ^3 per day 
whose duty it shall be to copy the journal; and that the same be 
printed and bound &c., and that the president and secretary, after 
the adjournment of the Convention, should attach thereto a 
certificate of its authenticity; which substitute was accepted. 

Mr. LOGAN offered an amendment, that the Secretary of 
State be requested to furnish them with a book or books in which 
to keep^the journal, and after the same shall be printed, that he 
issue a notice for proposals for binding, &c. 



TUESDAY, JUNE 22, 1847 161 

Mr. BROCKMAN opposed the resolutions. He thought 
some weeks ago we had settled this question of the right of this 
Convention to limit the pay of the officers of the Convention. He 
was no lawyer, but he thought he was able to give a common sense 
interpretation of a statute, and the act which called them together 
allowed them certain officers and fixed their pay. He considered 
that our power in this respect was a delegated one, and we had no 
authority to delegate that to another, the act of the Legislature 
conferred upon the Convention the power of appointing certain 
officers, and he did not believe we had the right to delegate that 
power to the secretary or anybody else. 

Mr. THOMAS thought that a person who chose to accept the 
appointment of an assistant secretary, at the rate fixed by this 
resolution, was bound by his contract. He did not admit that 
our powers were delegated. 

Mr. PRATT agreed with the gentleman from Brown, that the 
powers of the Convention in relation to the secretaries and door- 
keepers, were delegated to it by the Convention, and that the well 
established legal maxim, that delegated powers cannot be dele- 
gated, applied to the resolution now before them. He was opposed 
to the resolution, though he desired to have the journal printed, 
in order that it might be placed daily on their table, and that it 
might progress with their progress. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery sincerely hoped that fhey would 
have no more legal arguments about delegated powers, &c. One 
week of the Convention had already been wasted upon that 
subject, and he knew that if they did elect a secretary, or authorize 
the appointment of one as this resolution contemplated, it would 
be of very little importance; neither their acts, nor the constitution 
they might form would, in either case, be void. He was in favor 
of the resolution, because it looked to the performance of the work 
— the printing of the journal and the binding of it in strong books — 
in accordance with all past legislation. The only difference was 
the pay at $3 a day, while he understood the Legislature allowed 
a copyist last year ^3.50. If gentlemen would move an amend- 
ment changing the pay to that amount, he would have no objection 
to voting for it. There was, however, no such thing to be expected 



i62 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

as having the journal upon the table every day, there was no 
precedent for such a course. 

Mr. THOMAS made some remarks, when the vote was taken 
on the amendment and adopted, and the resolution as amended 
was decided in the affirmative — yeas 76, nays 43. 

Mr. GREGG moved to take up the report of the committee 
on the Executive Department, made some days ago; which motion 
was carried. He then, the chairman of the committee being 
absent, moved that it be made the special order for Tuesday next. 
Carried. 

Mr. PRATT said that Mr. Markley had been called home 
on particular business — sickness in his family — and had requested 
him to beg a leave of absence for him for ten days. Granted. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Sangamon submitted a resolution instruct- 
ing the committee on the Legislative Department to inquire into 
the expediency of incorporating a number of stated provisions on 
several matters, into the constitution. 

Mr. WITT moved to amend by striking out so much of the 
resolution as required the committee to inquire into the modes of 
taking the census hereafter. He said that the committee had 
agreed upon that matter and upon a very different mode than that 
contained in the proposition of the gentleman from Sangamon. 
It would be well to have a vote upon the matter now, in order that 
the question might be tested, whether the plan proposed by the 
committee would meet the views of the Convention, if not, then 
the committee would feel themselves instructed and would report 
accordingly. 

Mr. THOMAS suggested that the resolution was one directing 
an inquiry by the committee only, and, even if the committee 
had determined upon a plan, could do no harm; moreover 
many would vote for the reference who might be opposed to the 
propositions contained in the resolutions and that could be no 
test vote. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Sangamon said that he had hoped the 
resolution would have been permitted to go to the committee 
without debate. He was opposed to the amendments offered by 
the gentleman from Greene. His object in presenting the reso- 
lutions was to direct an inquiry as to the best mode of stopping all 



TUESDAY, JUNE 22, 1847 163 

electioneering for offices either under the State or general govern- 
ment, by members of the Legislature, or through the friends of 
the members, or by reason of their weight or influence, also, that 
no member of the Legislature should hold or be eligible to any 
office created by the Legislature of which he was a member, or the 
salary of which had been increased by that body while he was there. 
He had offered them, because he thought that perhaps the com- 
mittee might not have had all these subjects under their consider- 
ation. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery said, that he had no doubt but 
the Convention, when the committee should report, would agree 
with them in the main principles set forth. But the present 
resolution was merely one of inquiry, and there could be no harm 
in adopting it, nor would it interfere in any way with the report 
of the committee,' which he understood had been agreed on. 

Mr. CHURCH said, he would like to see the form of the oath 
contained in one of the resolutions amended. 

Mr. EDWARDS explained that it was only an oath to support 
the constitution. 

Mr. DEMENT said, that the committee had inquired into 
the matters contained in the resolutions, and that the subject of 
the first of them — the time and mode of taking the census — had 
been settled by that committee, and if the Convention had no 
objection it was desirable that a vote should be taken upon the 
subject at once, and the matter tested. He had no objection to 
the inquiry, but the committee had inquired into the subject, and 
had come to a conclusion, and why not have a test vote now, and 
say whether this resolution contains the views of the Convention. 
He asked that the vote might be taken on this resolution separately. 
The yeas and nays were demanded. 

Mr. LOGAN said, that he could not see how this vote could be 
a test. Many were in favor of referring the resolutions who might 
be in favor of the report of the committee. 

Mr. NORTON said, he was desirous to give his reasons why 
he should vote in the affirmative. He was not prepared to vote 
for the proposition of the gentleman from Sangamon, but if any 
gentleman proposed a mere resolution of inquiry, as he understood 



i64 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

this to be, he would always vote for reference, and, if the yeas and 
nays were called, he desired that the reasons of his vote might be 
expressed. 

Mr. CHURCHILL read a proposition bearing on the matter, 
which he would like to offer if in order. 

The demand for the yeas and nays was withdrawn, and the 
resolution passed. 

Mr. CHURCHILL moved a suspension of the rules, to enable 
him to present a resolution. Lost. 



The resolution of instruction to the committee on Incorpora- 
tions, and the substitute therefor — offered on Friday last — then 
came up in order. 

Mr. GREGG offered the following amendments to the amend- 
ment, as a substitute therefor: 

Resolved, That the committee on Incorporations be instructed 
to inquire into the expediency of so limiting the power of the 
General Assembly as to prohibit the establishment of corporations, 
or associations, with banking privileges, except on the basis of the 
following provisions: 

1st. The General Assembly shall have no power to pass any 
act granting any special charter for banking purposes, but corpo- 
rations or associations free to all the inhabitants of this State may 
be formed for such purposes under general laws. 

2d. The General Assembly shall have no power to pass any 
law sanctioning in any manner, directly or indirectly, the suspen- 
sion of specie payments by any person, association, or corporation, 
issuing bank notes of any description. 

3d. The General Assembly shall provide by law for the 
registry of all bills, or notes, issued, or put in circulation as money; 
and shall require ample security, by the pledge of public stocks, 
or otherwise, for the redemption of the same in specie. 

4th. The stockholders in every corporation and joint stock 
association, for banking purposes, issuing bank notes, or any 
kind of paper credits to circulate as money, shall be individually 
responsible for all its debts and liabities; and to make provision 
for the payment of such debts and liabilities they shall be required 



TUESDAY, JUNE 22, 1847 165 

to furnish unexceptionable security of twice the amount of their 
respective share in any such corporation or association. 

5th. In case of the insolvency of any banking association, the 
bill holders thereof shall be entitled to preference of payment over 
all other creditors of such association. 

6th. The embezzlement of the funds or property of any corpo- 
ration, or joint association, for banking purposes by any officer or 
agent thereof, shall be deemed felony, and it shall be the duty of 
the General Assembly to provide for the punishment of such 
felony, by imprisonment in the penitentiary. 

7th. No act of the General Assembly authorizing corporations 
or associations with banking powers shall go into effect, or in 
any manner be in force, unless the same shall be directly submitted 
to the people at the general election next succeeding the passage 
thereof, and shall be approved by a majority of all the votes cast 
at such election. 

8th. Any general law of this State authorizing the creation 
of corporations, or associations, with banking powers may be 
repealed by the General Assembly. 

Mr. GREGG said, that he desired to express, briefly, a few of 
the considerations which had induced him to present the propo- 
sition. He was opposed to banks in any shape or form. He 
would be in favor of an entire prohibition of them. He was one 
of those who believed banks, in any shape, manner or form, to be 
an unmitigated evil, and that their consequences were always 
disastrous and destructive to the people. He was not prepared 
then to go into a discussion of the question of banks and banking, 
but when the matter should come before them, from the hands of 
the committee, then he would enter into the subject more fully. 
It had been indicated by votes that had been taken — a manifest 
intention has been shown by the Convention, that there should 
be banks of some description. A majority of the Convention had 
made this manifest declaration. The question then presented to 
us was, "shall we leave the power to create these banks, or to adopt 
a system of banking, with the Legislature or with the people?" 

Should we leave the Legislature with a power so great, which 
will, if put into force, affect the wealth and prosperity of the 
whole State. 



1 66 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

He was opposed to this. He was unwilling to leave the power 
to adopt this dangerous and destructive system with any body 
but the people themselves. If there was a determination on the 
part of the Convention to adopt some system of banking, let us 
present it to the people in the most modified form, and permit the 
evil in the least objectionable shape, and it will go to the people 
who will vote understandingly upon the subject. He thought his 
proposition presented the odious evil in the least objectionable 
form; people could vote upon the proposition itself, instead of 
voting for men to frame the system. He believed banks to be 
great evils in any shape and any form. If the Legislature was 
to be trusted with the power to credit those institutions, let us 
place restrictions upon them, so that they may clearly see their 
powers and limits; but if the people are to be afflicted with any 
system of evil, he thought they should have every opportunity of 
voting understandingly upon the subject and of saying in what 
way it should be done. He was not prepared now to enter further 
into the discussion of the question, but would at some future time, 
go into a full exposition of his views and of the proposition sub- 
mitted. He did not think the convention was prepared to discuss 
the matter now, and he was in favor of referring all the propositions 
to the committee on Incorporations. 

Mr. CHURCHILL was in favor of referring the whole subject 
to the committee of the whole. 

Mr. THOMAS would prefer that we should have the report 
of the committee on Incorporations on the subject, and then go 
into the committee of the whole, and discuss the propositions to- 
gether. He would suggest that when such things as a system of 
banking were to be referred to the people for their approval or 
condemnation, you denied the people the right of selecting a 
system they might be in favor of, and if allowed a choice, would 
select a system very different from that which you presented to 
them, as contemplated by the substitute offered today; the sub- 
mitting to the people whether they would adopt a particular plan, 
was not extending to them much of a privilege. 

Mr. GREGG said, that when the committee should make a 
report, the whole subject would again be discussed, and he saw 



TUESDAY, JUNE 22, 1847 167 

no use in such a course as debating the subject now, and when the 
report was made, to discuss it all-over again. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery thought the question might be 
discussed now as well as at any other time, and he was in favorof 
proceeding at once. He was in favor of an unqualified prohibition 
to be inserted in the constitution. He was not willing to declare 
or admit that the majority of this convention was in favor of 
banks. Nor was he one of those who acting thus would propose 
a system of banking. He did not believe in gentlemen asserting 
that they were opposed to banks in any shape, and then proposing 
a system of banking! Let those who say that banks are evils, 
come out boldly and meet the question, and first say that there 
shall be no banks. He would vote to make it the special order 
for 2 o'clock this day. He was afraid they would get less in 
number by delaying the question; the prohibition party was 
already in a small minority. He was certain they would get less 
by postponing the debate, particularly when we see those who say 
that they are opposed to all banks proposing schemes of banking 
without showing any sort of fight. There were some ready to 
come up to the rack anyhow, and he hoped the debate would go 
on now. 

Mr. LOGAN said, he rose to defend the gentleman from Cook 
(Mr. Gregg) from the attack of the gentleman from Montgomery 
(Mr. Davis.) — There was little or no difference between the plan 
proposed by the gentleman from Cook and an entire prohibition, 
for he was sure that if there was to be no bank in the State except 
according to the plan proposed, no application would ever be 
made for a charter. He was in favor of taking up some one of 
the questions now, and, before the committee blocks out the 
system, or the article go[es] into the constitution, we could give them 
some intimation of the opinion of the Convention on the subject. — 
If the Convention should come to the conclusion to have no banks, 
why, they could so inform the committee; if they determine to 
have banks, they could agree in some way upon the restrictions; 
and again, if the power to charter banks is to be given to the Legis- 
lature, say whether it shall be given with or without restrictions; if 
with restrictions, define them. He thought this question of banks 
the most important — the main question — to be decided by the 



i68 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Convention; that is, the most important controverted subject 
they would be called to act upon. He moved to refer it to the com- 
mittee of the whole, and made the special order of the day for Fri- 
day next. 

Mr. HAYES hoped the resolutions and amendments would all 
be referred to the committee upon Incorporations instead of the 
committee of the whole, when gentlemen were not prepared to 
discuss the matter at so short a notice. The gentleman who had 
proposed the substitute was in favor of referring it to the commit- 
tee on Incorporations, and he thought the Convention should do 
so. He differed from the gentleman from Bond, in supposing that 
the number of those whom they voted with on this subject, would 
grow less by delay: on the contrary, he thought it would be better 
for them to fight some definite plan, and to have some scheme to 
rally against. 

Mr. GEDDES was rather astonished to hear his friend from 
Montgomery charge upon the gentleman from Cook. There ap- 
peared to him but little difference between them; they both looked 
upon banks as a hydra-headed monster; the gentleman from Mont- 
gomery proposed to kill him right out; the gentleman from Cook 
proposed to chain him, and the gentleman from JeflPerson 
offered to knock him in the head after he was chained. It was 
all one thing. He would vote for referring the matter to the 
committee on Incorporations. 

Mr. HENDERSON said, he would prefer that the committee 
should first make a report, so that the Convention might have 
something tangible before them to discuss. He moved a refer- 
ence to the committee on Incorporations. 

Mr. DAVIS, of Montgomery, was still in favor of giving the 
whole subject to the committee of the whole, because he thought 
that those who were opposed to banking would have the best 
way of meeting all the propositions for and against banks and 
banking. He saw that the great objection to going into a dis- 
cussion now comes not from those who are opposed to banking, 
but from those tender-footed gentlemen who are more than half 
in favor of banks and yet are opposed to them. 

Mr. PALMER, of Macoupin, differed from the gentleman 
last up in this particular, though not on others. That gentleman 



TUESDAY, JUNE 22, 1847 169 

was orthodox upon the real subject. He was not in favor of pro- 
ceeding now with the discussion. He thought the friends of 
the banks ought to come forward with their proposition, and then 
we could oppose it. We were altogether on the defensive, and 
he much preferred a regular field fight to this system of guerrilla 
warfare. This question of banks was the most important one 
that would come before the Convention, as it would affect the 
future interests and prosperity of the State, and it depended on 
our resistance to defeat the evils. If they were to be beaten, and 
the State was to have banks, he would prefer that the friends of 
these institutions should prepare that system which their wisdom 
and experience would allow. If the rights of the people were to 
be invaded let it be done by the friends of the system. 

Mr. THOMAS said, that it was much better that the committee 
should first report before we commenced the discussion, and 
when the committee had reported one plan, these propositions of 
the gentlemen, or any others, might be offered as amendments, 
and in this way the whole subject would be regularly before them. 
He would say to the gentleman from Macoupin that upon this 
question he might find himself in a position not altogether on the 
defensive. We may adopt banks or a system of banks, and then 
when the gentleman comes to put restrictions upon them, he will 
find himself attacking the right of the people to have such an 
institution as they thought proper. If this matter was to be dis- 
cussed, he desired to have the whole subject before them and 
gentlemen would be obliged to show their hands. 

Mr. PALMER, of Macoupin, said, so far as he understood the 
sentiments of the people of Illinois, he considered that those who 
spoke of having banks should always speak of restrictions upon 
them. — He was certain that no one dare send to the people a 
system of banking without attaching to it many restrictions. He 
stood there on the side of the people, behind a prohibitory clause, 
and while his party presented a perfectly invulnerable barrier to 
protect the people from any such system as banks or banking, the 
other party were compelled to come forward with a restrictive 
policy; something put around the plan to sweeten the dose, and 
showed that they were unwilling to turn the monster unrestricted 



I70 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

upon the people. He thought that the proper mode of discussing 
the question was to have some definite plan or proposition before 
them, for if we turned the Convention out upon the sea of banks 
and banking systems, they would be weeks at it before they came 
to any conclusion upon the subject. 

Mr. HURLBUT was in favor of referring the whole subject 
to the committee of the whole, as he thought it would shorten the 
discussion and have a principle decided at once. 

And the question being taken on referring the propositions on 
the subject to the committee of the whole, it was decided in the 
affirmative — yeas 71, nays 50. 

Mr. KNOX offered a series of resolutions in reference to the 
qualification, &c. of free white male inhabitants of the State to 
vote; which he moved to refer to the committee on Elections and 
Right of Suffrage. 

Mr. WHITNEY moved to strike out the word "white" 
wherever it occurred in the resolutions; and the vote being taken 
by yeas and nays, was decided in the negative — yeas 7, nays 137. 
The resolution was then referred. 

Mr. DAWSON offered a resolution directing an inquiry, by 
the committee on Finance, in relation to the school fund. 

Mr. HOGUE offered a substitute; which was accepted. 

Mr. LOGAN offered an amendment; which was accepted. 

And then, on motion, the Convention adjourned till to-mor- 
row at 9 A. M. 



XIV. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 1847 

Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Barger. 

Mr. DAVIS of McLean presented a petition of a number of 
citizens of McLean county, praying tiie Convention to adopt some 
constitutional provision, for the appointment of a superintendent 
of public instruction with a liberal salary; which was read and 
referred to the committee on Education. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Madison, from the committee on Educa- 
tion, reported the following resolutions: 

Resolved, That the committee on Education be instructed to 
consider and report as to the propriety of a constitutional provi- 
sion for the security of the college, seminary and common school 
funds from conversion or destruction by the Legislature; also, for 
the establishment of such a system of common schools as will, by 
taxation, combined with the State funds, afford the means of 
education to every child in the State, and for the appointment of a 
State Superintendant [sic], with an adequate salary to give eiFect 
to such a system. 

In presenting the reported resolutions from the committee 
Mr. E. said, that the first object contemplated by the resolutions 
was to secure the fund belonging to the college, seminary and 
common schools from all misappropriations from its true and 
sacred object. 

The second was to establish some sure and permanent system 
of appropriation and distribution of the fund, combined with a 
fair and reasonable taxation and the State funds, give such credit 
and security that every child in the State of Illinois may have the 
invaluable and incalculable advantages of education. The third 
branch of the resolution had reference to the appointment of a 
State Superintendant of education. There could be no 
question of the necessity of providing for the security of the 
college, school and seminary fund — which necessity arose from 
the large amount of the fund — from being squandered by the 
Legislature for purposes diflPerent from the object of the fund. 
171 



172 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

The amount of the fund was f 800,000 and was fast accumulat- 
ing from the 3 per cent, fund provided by the general government. 
It was true that one-sixth of this 3 percent, fund was appropriated 
by the general government for the purpose of building a university, 
but fortunately for the State no time had been prescribed by law 
for the completion or commencement of this work, and the Legis- 
lature has wisely appropriated the whole of it to the school fund. 
The greatest care should be kept of this fund, and its purposes 
and objects should be guarded and protected from any control or 
disposition of [it] by the Legislature. It should be esteemed by all 
as a sacred trust in the hands of the State, whose duty and interest 
it was to see properly administered. 

He would cite one instance of this kind — the Transylvania 
Institution, which was at one time one of the most promising and 
flourishing institutions of the character in the country, but which, 
by improvident legislation, owing to the curious state of politics 
of the time, had been reduced and dwindled down to an institution 
but little above a common school. It was an essential element in 
the establishment of common schools with a large fund, that it 
should be so provided that the fund should be permanently and 
safely invested and the interest distributed all over the State, and 
thus secure the benefits of education to the youth of every town 
and village in Illinois. He would appeal to the experience of the 
president and other members of the Convention to the danger of 
improvident legislation, of the attempts to distribute the fund to 
the several counties, and thereby to lose the whole; while the best 
and only safe plan was to have the fund all remain permanently 
invested and the interest only to be distributed. He was not 
prepared to say that the Convention can make any such provision 
as to secure permanency of this fund. The great difficulty with 
the people was the many changes, and the uncertainty of the 
present system; the spirit of innovation was forever at work and 
the people are always in the dark; the changes were so often and 
repeated that they could not know how the matter stands. He 
hoped that something would be done. The last part of the reso- 
lution looks to the appointment of a State Superintendant 
of instruction, and in support of that appointment he would refer 
to the example and experience of other States; and he had no fear 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 1847 173 

of contradiction when he said that in no State had they succeeded 
with their school funds, without establishing such an office. New 
York, Massachusetts and Ohio, all have an officer of this kind, 
and through his influence, labors and experience every township 
and village in the State had a school. He would like to present 
to the members of the Convention the report of the superintend- 
ant of public instruction of Ohio, and when the Convention 
would see the labor of that officer and its results, upon the system 
of education and the fund, he would think the matter settled. 

Let them look at the complicated machinery of the administra- 
tion of this office, its various sources of information and the facil- 
ities with which all errors could be corrected, and no man could 
deny the utility of the office. But he was met with the expense 
of such an office. Sir, said he, we are met here in the capacity of 
a convention to reform our system in all its branches; we may 
save an immense amount of money by applying the pruning knife 
of retrenchment to the several departments of our government, 
and in so doing he was willing to go as far as any man in the 
principle of economy, but not in a niggardly picayune system. 

Let us apply a portion of this amount saved to the payment of 
this officer and the people will not complain. We may then go, 
after saving this amount from other branches of the government, 
before the people and show them that we have economized all the 
expenses of the State, and saved them annually much more than 
the salary of this officer, and in view of the immense benefits they 
will derive from the administration of the school fund by him, no 
county will receive his appointment without approbation. 

The labors of the office of Secretary of State are too much and 
too arduous to enable him to do justice to the exofficio office of 
superintendant of public instruction. 

Mr. E. here read an extract from the report of the Ex-Secretary 
of State, now a member on this floor. Mr. E. pursued the subject 
for some time pointing out the many advantages flowing from a 
general diffusion of knowledge and a complete system of education 
among the people, he painted the beneficial results of such insti- 
tutions in the most vivid and glowing terms, and hoped that some 
encouragement would be given by a constitutional provision, to 
young men who were poor and now in obscurity. In conclusion 



174 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

he said that since he had been here he had listened with pleasure 
and profit to the maiden efforts of several young men, who had 
themselves derived benefits from education, and he appealed to 
them to lend their aid in laying the foundations of a good, sound 
and perfect system of common schools, which would afford other 
youths an opportunity to become a benefit and ornament to their 
country. To the older ones he deemed such an appeal unnecessary. 

The PRESIDENT said that he had suffered the debate to 
proceed, being unaware that there was a resol[u]tion pending at 
the adjournment of the Convention yesterday. 

The following resolution, as modified, then came up before 
the Convention: 

Resolved, That the committee on Education be instructed to 
inquire into the expediency of adopting a constitutional provision 
for increasing the common school fund, and to prevent the Legis- 
lature from borrowing any portion of the school, college or seminary 
fund in [the] future. 

Mr. LOGAN offered to amend by adding thereto, "to defray 
the ordinary expenses of the government," also the following: 

"And that the same committee be instructed, also, to inquire 
into the expediency of providing by the constitution that the 
moneys hereafter received from the school, college and seminary 
funds shall be invested in the bonds of this State at their market 
value; and, also, that the interest on bonds so purchased shall be 
punctually paid, to defray the ordinary expenses of the State debt." 

Mr. DEITZ moved to add, after the first amendment of Mr. L., 
the following: 

"And that hereafter the first moneys that shall come into the 
treasury in each and every year shall be set apart for payment to 
the proper authorities, or persons entitled by law to their respec- 
tive proportion of the interest annually accruing upon the school, 
college and seminary fund." 

Mr. LOGAN advocated his plan of adding to the school fund. 
He illustrated the operation of it thus: His proposition was, that 
the State should authorize the commissioner of the school fund to 
go into the market and invest it in bonds of the State of Illinois. 
Thus with the school fund you could buy, with one hundred thous- 
and dollars, two hundred thousand dollars worth of the bonds — 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 1847 175 

putting the market value of the bonds at 50 cents. — The State, 
then, would pay the interest on two hundred thousand dollars 
into the school fund, the school fund would be doubled, the 
bonds would be out of the hands of foreign creditors, and no one 
would be injured. Mr. L. expatiated at length on this plan of 
increasing and benefitting the school fund. 

Mr. DAVIS, of Montgomery, opposed the plan as reflecting 
on the honor and integrity of the State. He thought that it was 
not honorable or just for the State, after having, by unwise, if not 
worse, legislation become in debt, and then depreciated her own 
bonds, to go into the market and buy them up at half their value, 
and appropriate the profits of the shaving to pay its debts to 
another fund. 

Mr. CONSTABLE said, he was in favor of the resolution of 
the gentleman from Sangamon for three reasons, and would be 
glad to see the whole of the school fund invested by the school 
commissioner in the State bonds. His reasons were, that the 
school fund would be doubled or greatly increased; that the debt 
would become a domestic instead of a foreign one; and that the 
people would gladly and willingly pay the taxes to meet the interest 
upon the bonds, when they knew they were contributing to a 
fund so beneficial to themselves and children. 

Mr. WEST made a few remarks in opposition, which led to an 
explanation by Mr. C. and Mr. Logan. 

Mr. THOMAS was not only in favor of the plan proposed by 
the gentleman from Sangamon, but he would go further and 
require that the fund belonging to every township in the State 
should be invested in State bonds, and then the people would 
more readily pay their taxes, being conscious that every cent they 
paid would be going for the advancement of their own interest 
and the benefit and education of their children. It would 
also lead to the permanency and perpetuity of the institutions 
of the State, to have her debt all owing to the various townships 
and funds and citizens of her own State. He cited the cases of 
France and Great Britain, whose debt was held by her own citizens, 
and to this he ascribed the safety of England from a revolution. 

Mr. TURNBULL opposed, briefly, the adoption of any system 



176 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

compelling the townships to invest their money in State stock or 
in any way other than at present, or than the people desired. 

Mr. BROCKMAN said, that he approved of the plan if he 
understood it properly. If this money was invested in the school 
fund and the interest paid out to the townships in gold or silver, or 
in par funds, he was with them; but if the interest was to be paid 
out as it is now, in Auditor's warrants of depreciated value, he 
would oppose the whole system. 

Mr. ARMSTRONG was opposed to any such disposition of 
the township funds as had been shadowed forth by the gentleman 
from Morgan, because it was now invested in good mortgaged 
property, and the interest was paid in gold and silver. He was 
opposed to the system of furnishing the counties with their 
respective shares of the school fund in Auditor's warrants, when 
the people paid their taxes in gold and silver. 

Mr. CHURCHILL said, that for the past two years, at least, 
the Auditor sends the money to the school commissioner, and if 
they receive nothing but Auditor's warrants it was the fault of 
the officer. He was opposed to any distribution of the fund in 
any shape, manner or form. 

Mr. KENNER made a few remarks in relation to the difficulty 
in obtaining teachers for the schools, when they were to receive 
nothing but Auditor's warrants for their pay. 

Mr. DAVIS of McLean was in favor of the plan of the gentle- 
man from Sangamon, and also that spoken of by the gentleman 
from Morgan. He could see no possible objection to the former, 
as it was the most feasible plan of increasing the school fund with 
advantage and without doing the least injury to anyone. It 
might be called a crying shame were the State to send a man into 
the market to buy up her own bonds at a depreciated value, and thus 
avoid the payment of half her debt; but not so if the commissioner 
of the school fund make the purchase of the bonds at the market 
value, as the State would still have to pay the whole amount of 
her bonds with interest. He would show how much the school 
fund would be increased, by supposing a case. Say the commis- 
sioner with ^100,000 of the school fund bought up, at the market 
value, bonds of the State amounting to $200,000. In the first 
place, the amount of the school fund would be doubled, and when 



fVEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 1847 177 

the interest on the $100,000 would be |6,ooo that on the $200,000 
would be 1 1 2,000, thereby increasing to double the amount the 
sum to be distributed for the purposes of education. And who 
was to lose? No one. And the children all over the State would 
be greatly benefitted by this increase of the means of education. 
Mr. D. then pointed out the vast benefits which, in his opinion, 
would follow from the investment of the township funds in this 
stock, in comparison to the present system of loaning it out to 
private individuals. 

Mr. SHERMAN opposed everything like a provision directing 
the investment of the township fund in stocks of the State. In 
his county they had an excellent fund, upon which they received 
12 per cent, interest; they paid their teachers in cash, and he did 
not want the Convention to come there and make them invest it 
in State bonds bearing 6 per cent, only — and that, too, in Aud- 
itor's warrants. 

[Mr. DEMENT said, admitting, for the sake of argument, that 
there is nothing immoral or improper in the State using her school 
fund to pay up her own bonds at their present depreciated market 
value, the resolution seemed to him to be placing the character of 
the State in a most unenviable position. The whole project, when 
taken together, contemplates, under the agency and action of the 
State, by solemn constitutional provision, not only to provide for 
purchasing the bonds, at a brokerage rate, from the creditors, but 
it carries with it a determination to make a palpable distinction 
in the payment of interest in favor of the bonds held by the State. 
Mr. D. said, I say State, for I cannot separate the State from the 
people — or make a distinction between one fund, owned by 
the people of the State, and another. Any act which may be per- 
formed by the State, for the benefit of the people of the State, and 
their children, and particularly in the most imposing of all forms — 
by a convention of the representatives of the people of the State, 
assembled to remodel their organic law, will never be viewed in 
any other light by the civilized world than the act of the State — 
the people of the State. 

It will be useless for us to say that it is intended for a separate 
department of the State government — that is for a special purpose. 



178 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

In the minds of the disinterested we cannot make a distinction, 
particularly when the proposition is coupled with the provision 
that the interest on the bonds, bought by the State, shall be punc- 
tually paid out of the first money in the treasury, while at the same 
time we cannot pay more than one per cent, on bonds of a similar 
character held by our creditors, who have the public faith solemn- 
ly pledged for their redemption. 

When our creditors contemplate the character and full force 
of this project, it does appear to me that quite a different impres- 
sion will be created upon the minds of our bondholders than some 
gentlemen anticipate. I think it more likely that they will see 
in the scheme a disposition to speculate and shave our own obli- 
gations, and that having the power to "prefer our creditors," we 
unblushingly prefer ourselves as a creditor of ourselves. After 
we have taken this step, so partial to ourselves — so yielding to a 
feeling of unjustifiable cupidity, it will be useless for us to allege 
that it was done for a laudable purpose — for the enhancement of 
a sacred fund. 

I am aware, said Mr. D., that it is a forcible appeal to the 
popular impulses — an appeal in favor of the education of the 
youth of our State, but the objections I urge are an impassable 
barrier between myself and the project. I would gladly support 
any feasible plan for the augmentation of the school fund, but it 
must be an honorable one. We all, doubtless, have the same 
object in view, but differ as to the means of attaining that object. 

There is another objection which I have, which is, to the prac- 
tical effect which this mode of increasing the school fund must 
and will have upon the people in the way of a tax; not direct, but 
which seems to me not altogether indirect. For illustration: 
say we now raise a direct tax of $50,000 per annum, and pay it 
out as interest on the school fund. Now suppose, to make the 
illustration clear, that we were in a situation to invest all the 
school fund in States bonds, at fifty cents to a dollar, with a view 
to double the principal nominally, and to double the interest sub- 
stantially, and in fact, and at the same time contemplate the 
prompt payment of the whole amount of school fund now doubled 
by this honest(?) speculation, as gentlemen please to consider it, 
will we not have to provide for the payment of the additional 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 1847 179 

^50,000 of interest per annum, by a direct tax upon the people? 
which must be in addition to the present heavy rate of taxation, 
or by absorbing that much of our present means of paying the 
interest we are now paying on our bonds. I think this will be 
well understood by our bondholders as, to some extent, practi- 
cally repudiating the interest, at least, on our debt; and the 
people will, understand, distinctly feel the additional tax. But 
gentlemen say this is only to effect the subject so far as the school 
fund shall hereafter be received, but, sir, if the principle is not 
right in the whole extent, it cannot be because the transaction is 
small or limited. 

I object, also, said Mr. D., to sending an agent into the market 
with this sacred fund, intended to store the minds of our youth 
with knowledge, and an appreciation of correct morals and princi- 
ples, subjecting it to the losses and misfortunes heretofore ex- 
perienced in our monetary transactions. I doubt the propriety 
of risking this money in this wild speculation, when I am im- 
pressed that it is more than suspected that there are large amounts 
of spurious bonds in circulation so like the genuine that the men 
who made them can hardly distinguish the true from the false.]^ 

Mr. LOGAN asked if the gentleman from Montgomery,. who 
opposed this amendment, was prepared to say that the debt to 
the school fund should fare the same fate as the other debts of the 
State and that no provision should be made towards its payment. 
We were not able to pay our debt, but should we neglect to advance 
or increase our school fund, until we were able to pay that debt. 
We had a right to prefer debts. It was a well established legal 
principle that a man can prefer a debt in one creditor's hands to 
that of another. If this plan be adopted and we purchased these 
bonds the people will have no hesitation to pay the whole interest 
when they know it is to be applied to the advancement of educa- 
tion, and the means of improving the morals and integrity of the 
people. The present question before them was a single one; the 
propriety of appropriating the school fund to the purchase of these 
State bonds. It had nothing to do with the township money. 

-'The full report of Demerit's remarks printed in the weekly Illinois 
Stale Register of July 2, is here substituted for a brief general summary. 



i8o ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

That was another question and he did not want his proposition to 
be prejudiced by having other subjects connected with the dis- 
cussion of it. He had lived in this county fifteen years, and he 
was certain that the question whether the township funds turned 
out profitable or otherwise depended on the sort of men you choose 
for your commissioners. During the whole of the time he had 
lived here, they had had prudent commissioners, except for two 
years, then the commissioner squandered a large slice of the fund. 
He might also instance a case of the same kind that occurred in 
Macoupin. 

Mr. GEDDES was in favor of the plan of the gentleman from 
Sangamon, because it made the fund permanent and safe and 
increased it. He was also in favor of the suggestion of the gentle- 
man from Morgan. 

Mr. KNOWLTON expressed himself at some length in favor 
of the amendment and in reply to the gentleman from Lee. He 
could see no dishonesty in the plan and would view it merely as a 
business transaction. Those who held the bonds might or might 
not sell their bonds at 50 cents, no one could compel them to take 
less than the full amount, and they might retain them till the 
State was able to pay the whole sum. He was opposed to the 
proposition that the township fund should be used up in the pur- 
chase of the State bonds. 

Mr. KNOX said, that the only question with him was did 
the plan if carried out affect the honor or integrity of the State. 
He did not think that anyone there believed the State could with 
its present resources, ever be able to pay the interest on the State 
debt. And how was it to be paid? When, by the increase of 
population the wealth and means of the State were enlarged. And 
in his opinion the proceedings of this Convention had much to do 
with it. Suppose we go to our creditors and tell them our circum- 
stances and ask them shall we make a provision in our constitution 
for the education and moral improvement of our children, he was 
sure they would reply, yes, do so, and let it be a liberal one. 
There is a provision in our law, made by the Legislature to build 
school houses, and the property of non-residents was taxed to pay 
it, and he had heard some of them say they were glad that such a 
tax had been levied, because it would increase the value of their 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 1847 181 

lands. He would vote for the resolution of the gentleman from 
Sangamon. 

Mr. MASON thought that so far from the present question 
involving a principle of dishonesty, on which ground objections 
had been made, that it presented itself most favorably in a moral 
point of view. There were many who held our stock, which was now 
very low, and who could not afford to live on fancy stocks or upon 
promises to pay, which never were redeemed, and, if in case this 
passed our stock would rise in the market as he was sure it would, 
these persons might dispose of it to some advantage. 

Mr. THOMAS moved the previous question. Ayes 65 — Noes 
66; not seconded. 

A motion to adjourn till to-morrow was lost. Ayes 48. 

On motion, the Convention adjourned till 3 o'clock, p. m. 

AFTERNOON 

Mr.DEITZ briefly explained the nature of his amendment. 

Mr. ROUNTREE said, he was not in favor of binding the 
Legislature to invest this fund in the State bonds, but he would 
like to see it so amended as to read — "in stocks most safe and 
productive," and the interest only to be distributed. He thought 
it very probable that in twenty years the proposition of the gentle- 
man from Sangamon might appear a little exceptionable. 

Mr. WILLIAMS thought it sufficient only to understand the 
proposition to be in favor of it. 

Mr. LOGAN apologized for speaking again upon this question, 
inasmuch as he felt a great interest in it; it was one of his hobbys 
[sic]. After some remarks upon the practice of the Legislature 
in drawing the gold and silver belonging to this fund for the purpose 
of paying their per diem, he said he thought we were on the eve of 
some great speculation. And he appealed to the Convention not 
to leave with the Governor and Legislature, the power of investing 
this fund in any scheme they thought proper. Very soon some 
person or another would have a railroad or a plank road company, 
and it could be calculated up that by investing this fund in the 
stock that it would yield some 18 per cent. The Governor would, 
if permitted to act according to the suggestion of the Legislature 
be sure to invest it in some moonshine stock which, like when the 



i82 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

system of internal improvements was before them, would be shown 
by figures "which could not lie," would yield immense profits. 
The fund would be safe in the State stock, but if you left the power 
to the Legislature, to invest it as they thought proper, they would 
run mad as they had run mad before. 

Mr. DAVIS, of Massac, inquired what was to be done for the 
interest on those bonds not bought up by this fund? And being 
answered that it was to remain as at present, he opposed the dis- 
crimination as unjust to the other holders of the bonds. 

Mr. BROCKMAN said, he thought when he told the gentlemen 
in the morning that he was with them, that the bonds were to be 
purchased at par, and not at the market price. Understanding 
now that this was contemplated he would vote against it. States, 
in his opinion, were like individuals, and what was dishonest in an 
individual was dishonest in a State. Things cast their shadows 
before them. It was said we were on the eve of a speculation, 
and the first thing going that way was a proposition to swindle 
the creditors of the State. It had also been said that the consti- 
tution would not live long enough to see the State debt paid; he 
was afraid it would not live at all, although it was yet in embryo, so 
many odious plans and provisions were to be engrafted upon it, 
he did not think it would be adopted. He supposed another part 
of the speculation would be in relation to a bank, but when that 
come[s] before the Convention we will attend to them. 

Mr. PALMER, of Marshall, said, that he had listened to all 
that had been said upon the question, and his mind had come to 
the same conclusion before the discussion that it had now. He 
had looked at the foundation of the two debts of the State of 
Illinois; the first was contracted by the State with individuals who 
lent us the money, they at the same time acting as their own 
agents, and he had always thought that both parties were in fault 
in relation to the matter. Though not in the Legislature, he read 
the newspapers and journals of the day — indeed, they were his 
reading except when engaged with the bible and other religious 
works. He thought the State unwise in the undertaking, and the 
gentlemen who loaned the money should have known that the 
works could never be completed. — The other is a sacred debt — it is 
a debt of the orphans and widows. It always took two parties to 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 1847 183 

a covenant. Illinois had an agent who stood up for her, but the 
orphans had no one. The State laid hold of this sacred fund, and 
appropriated it to pay their own expenses; and now, when they 
call for their share of the fund, they receive Auditor's warrants. 
He was in favor of honesty, and could see no injustice or dishonesty 
in the plan now before them. The stocks of the State were not in 
the hands of the original holders, but were held by brokers and 
stock-jobbers, and if any person desired to buy them up they 
were at liberty [to] do so, and at the very lowest price, and why 
not Illinois do so with her school fund; particularly when the 
fatherless and the orphan, who can never expect a schooling except 
by the school fund, were in numbers throughout the State. He 
hoped gentlemen would all take it upon themselves to assist the 
widow in educating the rising generation, and after that he would 
vote for taxation to pay the whole debt. He had been a stickler 
for 40 years on the side of honesty, and had fought in the cause of 
honesty and religion, and almost 66 cold winters had rolled over 
his head while engaged in the study of honesty, yet he had been 
unable to discover the least dishonesty in the whole plan. 

Mr. ARCHER said, that as this was a mere resolution of 
enquiry, he would vote for it. This was a question of the utmost 
interest, and this debate which has ensued on a mere resolution 
of enquiry gave evidence of the deep feeling on the subject. He 
was not disposed to discuss it in its present shape, but would 
remark that he could not see those glaring faults in the plan, which 
others pretended to have discovered. 

Mr. WOODSON advocated the adoption of the resolution, 
because, by investing the school fund in this way, no harm could 
be done. If he understood the plan, it was to invest a portion or 
the whole of the school fund in State bonds, which could be pur- 
chased, say at 40 to 50, and thereby double the amount of the 
fund, and of the interest that would be distributed for the purpose 
of education. Who could be injured by such a plan? Illinois 
would be greatly benefitted. The bondholder could not complain, 
for the very fact of this investment would enhance the value of 
the bonds. If, therefore, it was not unjust to them, was it immoral 
to make use of the fund. If not unjust nor dishonest, we have 
a right to prefer the credit or whom we will pay. — This was a principle 



1 84 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

of law, so well settled that no lawyer would deny it. This fund 
belongs to the children of the State, and she has a right to invest 
it in such a way as is best for their interest. If this plan was not 
dishonest, enhanced the value of the bonds, was not unjust, injured 
no one, and increased the fund — why should not the Convention 
act in the matter? The Legislature had been dishonest in appro- 
priating the money, and the Convention should adopt some 
measures to close the door against anything further of the kind. 
Mr. NORTON was in favor of giving this resolution the course 
of all resolutions of enquiry; he would vote for it, but he was not 
altogether prepared to vote for the plan set forth by it, because 
he feared there might be many serious and unsurmountable 
objections to it. He thought well of the school fund, and was 
ready to go with anyone, in furthering and advancing the cause, 
but he was unwilling to adopt anything unjust or dishonest. If 
he understood the proposition correctly, we were to go into market 
to buy up our own stock at a depreciated value, and at the loss of 
our creditors. — Would they not say to us, it is your duty to educate 
your children at your own cost and not ours. He supposed that 
no one would say that it would be just were we to buy up our 
bonds and thus get rid of the debt, but the excuse for the present 
plan is, that it is not for the benefit of the State but for the youth. 
Mr. N. then stated the plan in detail, and said, suppose we did 
buy up one hundred thousand dollars of the bonds, on which the 
State was now paying two per cent., and add it to the school fund, 
where we will have to pay six per cent., where would this difference 
of four per cent, come from? It would come from our other 
creditors and bondholders, for if we were now able only to pay two 
per cent, of interest on our debt, would we not be reducing our 
means to pay even that, if we paid six per cent, on that portion of 
our bonds thus purchased by the school fund. Well might our 
creditors say, that we should educate our children ourselves, and 
not by using their means. And, sir, there may be persons holding 
these bonds who are not able to contribute to the education of our 
children, and how can they educate their own children ? He said 
the same principles would apply to the State as to individuals. 
Suppose, said he, I had a quantity of my paper afloat which I 
was unable to pay, and it was worth but 40 cents, at the same 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 1847 185 

time there was in my hands a legacy belonging to my child, would 
it be honest in me to buy up with this fund a portion of my own 
paper, and then, by thus doubling the legacy, devote all my means 
to the payment of the interest on my paper thus held by my child? 
He thought not. Mr. N pursued the subject at some length, 
and, in conclusion, said that he might be wrong in his views, and 
if satisfied that it was proper and just, he would go heart in hand 
with the gentleman. 

Mr. KINNEY of Bureau advocated the plan contained in the 
amendment. 

Mr. THORNTON made a few remarks in reply to Mr. Norton, 
and the question was taken on the amendment proposed by Mr. 
Deitz, and it was carried — yeas 76. 

The two other amendments were then adopted, and the reso- 
lution as amended was passed. 

The report of the committee on Education, submitted this 
morning, was then taken up. 

Mr. GREGG hoped the resolution reported by the committee 
would be postponed till Saturday, as the gentleman from Jo 
Daviess, who was chairman of the committee, was absent and 
would be till that day. He was in favor of the resolution, and 
concurred with the gentleman from Madison in every word he 
had uttered. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Madison hoped the resolution would be 
postponed. 

Mr. CHURCHILL moved to postpone till Tuesday. 

Mr. WILLIAMS thought it unnecessary to postpone as the 
resolution was one of simple inquiry only, and which might as 
well be passed now as at any other time. 

Mr. EVEY expressed a similar view. 

Mr. GREGG then moved that the subject be postponed till 
Monday next. 

Mr. KNOWLTON did not think it was necessary for the 
chairman of the committee to be here, for a proper discussion of 
the subject. 

Mr. SERVANT thought the resolution might be referred 
without debate, but if they were to debate it he thought courtesy 
would favor a postponement. 



1 86 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. PINCKNEY advocated a discussion at once, as he under- 
stood that the committee had reported the resolution to elicit from 
the Convention an expression upon the subject. 

Mr. CONSTABLE offered the following amendment to the 
resolution : 

"Also, as to the propriety of creating a sinking fund connected 
with the debt due from the State to the college, school and semi- 
nary fund, so as to provide for its early repayment, and the 
investment of that fund in the bonds of this State at their market 
value, at the same time contemplating the prompt payment of 
interest on the bonds so purchased by the said fund." 

The amendment was adopted, and the resolution as amended 
was passed. 

Mr. JONES made a report of the majority of the committee 
on the Revenue; which he moved to lay on the table and two 
hundred copies be printed. 

Mr. THOMAS made a report from the minority of the com- 
mittee on the Revenue, which was laid on the table and two 
hundred copies order to be printed. 

Messrs. Thomas and Z. Casey made some remarks, each 
upon the nature of the reports. 

[Mr. THOMAS moved that it be laid upon the table and 
printed; and accompanied the motion with some remarks in rela- 
tion to the views entertained by the minority of the committee. 
Revenue, he remarked, lay at the very foundation of government, 
and without it a Government could not exist. This being ad- 
mitted, he said, the great consideration was in regard to the sub- 
jects or objects of taxation. The minority had attempted to 
make some specifications in regard to this matter; and their 
reason for doing so was, that it was a thing which was not usually 
found in the constitutions of other States; and the consequence 
was that disputes more frequently arose in the legislatures of 
those States, upon the subject of taxation than upon any other 
subject. It was desirable, as far as possible, to place this subject 
beyond dispute. There had also in this State, been great diffi- 
culty and much controversy in regard to the mode of taxation. 
That difficulty had grown out of a provision in the constitution of 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 1847 187 

Illinois which was not found in many, if in any, of the constitu- 
tions of other States, and that was, that property was to be taxed 
according to valuation — so that every one should pay a tax in 
proportion to the value of the property which he possessed. 
This provision of the constitution it was argued by some, excluded 
from taxation the persons of citizens, and it was contended that 
it took away the right of the State legislature to levy a poll tax; 
and that was the reason, perhaps, why no poll tax had been estab- 
lished since the organization of the State government. Another 
question of great difficulty had arisen, and [was] discussed very 
extensively, in the courts of law, in regard to the manner of ascer- 
taining the value of property, and what taxes were to be assessed. 
There was great difficulty in ascertaining the value of property, 
in a large taxable district, because its value was so much a matter 
of opinion, that it was hard to get an agreement of opinion from 
even three persons in the same county. 

It had therefore been contended by some that under the con- 
stitution, as it now exists in Illinois, the legislature had no power 
to fix a valuation upon the lands throughout the State in any 
other manner than by appointing persons to make a valuation; 
and the laws which had been passed, and imposed upon the State 
ever since it was a State, fixing a valuation and classifying the 
lands, were unconstitutional, because, as it was said, the legisla- 
ture had no power to do it. That provision of law had been 
changed, he believed, in 1828 or '29, and the lands were valued 
thereafter according to their true valuation. It was then found 
that the revenue of the State fell short, and that we had not the 
means of going on with the State government. This made it 
necessary for the State government to fix a minimum valuation; 
and they fixed it at three dollars per acre. This, he had no doubt, 
was done with an honest intent; and it was very possible that the 
men who voted for that minimum were satisfied that by doing so 
they placed a large quantity of the lands of the State at a valua- 
tion greater than they were really worth; but they had no other 
mode of getting along. They had to adopt some method, and 
this was deemed the most expedient. He supposed that if, in the 
same minimum law, there had been a provision that all the lands 
should be taxed in proportion to their true value, there would have 



1 88 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

been an equality of taxation; because, if the poorest land was 
valued at three dollars per acre, it would be easy to calculate 
what the richest land would be worth. It was desirable to get 
rid of the difficulty under which the government had so long labored 
in regard to this matter; and this was the object of the minority 
of the committee in reporting a classification, and a valuation by 
the legislature. The operation of it would be, that the legislature 
would provide for the classification of lands, and there would be 
one man appointed in each county to classify it according to 
quality and situation; and when this had been done, its valuation 
would be found prescribed in the law. This provision, it would 
be perceived, was expressly intended for the raising of revenue; 
but he hoped that gentlemen would not take fright at it until they 
had examined it, and considered the true situation in which the 
matter stood, because without some such provision, by which 
revenue could be collected, we might as well give up our system 
of government at once. A government could not subsist upon 
credit. Our auditor's warrants were down to eighty cents in the 
dollar, and now the school fund was about to be taken away from 
the legislature; without such a provision, therefore, this conven- 
tion might as well adjourn, and give up the State. He made 
these remarks by way of apology for introducing into the conven- 
tion a proposition which looked so strongly for raising a revenue. 

It was true that the legislature might so provide as to make 
the valuation very small or very large; but there were limitations 
on the power of the legislature, and upon the power of the county 
officers executing the law, which were essential to certainty in the 
assessment and collection of revenue. If these provisions were 
omitted in the constitution which was to be formed, the legislative 
department would have unlimited power over the subject; and 
they would be in the same condition in which they had heretofore 
been. He hoped that no gentleman would form an opinion 
against the proposition without looking at the consequences which 
would result from a different course. 

Mr. Z. CASEY said he imagined that the question upon the 
merits of the proposition was not now properly before the Con- 
vention, the present question being to lay upon the table and print 
the report of the minority of the committee. He might be per- 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 1847 189 

mitted to say, however, that the difference, as he understood it, 
between the two propositions from the committee was simply 
this: that, while one proposed to ascertain the worth of property 
by a valuation, to be made by inspectors appointed for that pur- 
pose, and when the intrinsic worth was ascertained, to fix upon 
it a rate of tax sufficient to answer the purposes of government; 
the other contemplated that there should be an arbitrary valuation 
fixed upon the property. He was opposed to an arbitrary valu- 
ation. It seemed to him that the other mode was the proper one; 
in all other respects he approved of the report of the majority of 
the committee. He would not oppose the printing of the report 
of the minority; he hoped it would be printed, that the whole 
subject might be brought at once before the convention, and fairly 
discussed and decided.]^* 

Mr. DEMENT, from the committee on the Legislative 
Department, made a report — a motion was made to print — and 
then, on motion, the Convention adjourned. 

" Tliis account of the speeches of Thomas and Casey is taken from the 
Sangamo Journal, July 1. 



XV. THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 1847 

Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Hale. 

The motion pending, to print aoo copies of the report of the 
Legislative committee, made yesterday, was decided in the 
affirmative. 

Mr. CONSTABLE introduced a resolution directing the 
door-keeper to contract for a sufficient amount of ice for the use 
of the members of the Convention. 

Mr. SCATES offered an amendment — "for such members as 
choose to pay therefor." 

Mr. SERVANT offered an amendment — "that no person shall 
use any of the said ice unless he furnish his portion of the money 
to purchase the same." 

Mr. WITT moved to lay the amendments on the table. 
Carried. 

Mr. SERVANT was opposed to laying the resolution on the 
table, if he thought that his constituents were not willing that 
he should have a lump of ice in this hot weather he would leave 
the Convention and go home in disgust. A motion was made to 
lay the resolution on the table, and the yeas and nays were 
ordered. They resulted — yeas 108, nays 34. 

Mr. ARCHER, from the committee on Organization of 
Departments and Officers connected with the Executive Depart- 
ment, reported back sundry resolutions, with amendments to the 
constitution — that the Auditor of Public Accounts shall be 
elected every four years, and a salary of ^1,000; a State Treas- 
urer elected for a term of two years, and a salary of J800; a 
Secretary of State to hold office same time as Governor, with a 
salary of :^8oo; and that the General Assembly should authorize 
the advertising for proposals for public printing, to be let out to 
the lowest bidder; and that the subject of a State's Attorney be 
referred to the committee on Judiciary. Which report, on motion, 
was laid on the table, and 200 copies ordered to be printed. 

Mr. GREGG, from the committee on the Division of the 
190 



THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 1847 191 

State into Senatorial and Representative Districts, reported a 
resolution calling for 30 outline maps, and printing 200 copies of 
the census. — He stated, that the committee were unanimously of 
opinion that the maps should be had. It had been ascertained 
that no copies of the census were in the office of the Secretary of 
State, as had been suggested the other day, and it would be 
conceded that it was necessary they should have the census 
printed for their use. 

Mr. ECCLES doubted the necessity of procuring the maps. 

Mr. WEST said, he had inquired at the Auditor's office and 
had been informed that the maps could be furnished by Monday 
next, at a cost not exceeding six bits each. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Sangamon said, he had a map that had 
been furnished him at the last session of the Legislature, which 
had cost but 50 cents; it was at the service of the chairman of the 
committee. His map had the population of every county marked 
upon its face. 

Mr. SHUMWAY offered an amendment, "that the number of 
free white population in each county should be marked on the 
maps." Carried, and then the resolution was adopted. 

Mr. SCATES offered a resolution, that the committee on 
Finance be directed to inquire into the expediency of reporting a 
provision to tax the government lands; which resolution, after 
explaining it, he moved be postponed till Wednesday next. — 
Carried. 

Mr. DAWSON offered a resolution directing an inquiry by 
the committee on Rights, to report a prohibition of duelling 
Carried. 

Mr. WEAD offered a resolution appointing a special committee 
of eleven to inquire into the expediency of abolishing the county 
commissioners' court, and report a plan of organization of town- 
ships. Carried. 

Mr. GEDDES offered a resolution that the committee on 
Military Affairs should inquire into the expediency of adding to 
the 2d section of the 5 th article of the constitution a provision 
that all persons who do not perform military duty should pay a 
fine of from fifty cents to a dollar, which should be added to the 
school fund. 



192 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

He said, that from his little experience in such matters, he 
had come to the conclusion that our present military organization 
was a mere farce. Nine-tenths of the people do no military duty; 
he did not know, but supposed it was owing to the inefficiencjy of 
the law. It had become so now, that no one but those who 
pleased did military duty. If the constitution of the United States 
did not require otherwise he would like to see the whole system 
abolished. These fines would amount to a considerable amount, 
and if added to the school fund would be a good increase. Military 
training had become useless, for if they desired to effect anything 
they should be kept together a week and do camp duty. 

Mr. CHURCH offered an amendment — "that any poll tax 
levied and collected shall be in lieu of military duty." 

Mr. BROCKMAN opposed any fines for a non-performance 
of military duty; he was in favor of a full organization. In his 
county they were organized better than in any other in the State, 
and they collected no fines. 

Mr. SHIELDS moved to lay the resolution and amendment 
on the table. Carried. 

Mr. ROUNTREE oflFered a resolution that the committee 
on the Revenue should be instructed to inquire into the expediency 
of reporting a provision in the constitution fixing a maximum rate 
of taxation to continue for years. 

He said, that he desired that the committee should report a 
maximum rate of taxation, beyond which the Legislature could 
not go. This course would, in his opinion, do away with much of the 
prejudice now felt by emigrants against settling in our State, and 
which, owing to our large debt and the necessity for taxation, 
deters many from coming here who otherwise would. It would 
allay all doubt and uncertanity about the amount of interest each 
man would be called upon to pay, and our citizens would be able 
to fix a real value upon their land. It would throw light upon the 
pathway of the emigrant, and he may be induced to settle in 
Illinois instead of seeking more favored lands unburthened with a 
public debt. In fixing this maximum, a due regard should be 
had to the rates as fixed by our adjacent States, so that we should 
not exceed theirs, and turn the tide of emigration from our own 
soil into theirs. This was manifest, for if we fixed it at ?2 and 



THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 1847 193 

Missouri at $1, she would get all the emigration, and if we fixed 
it too high we would be adopting the best plan of rendering the 
surrounding States more advantageous for emigrants than our 
own. He thought that, inasmuch as retrenchment would be 
carried into the various branches of the government, our present 
rate would be sufficient. 

Mr. ECCLES suggested that the object of the gentleman 
would be accomplished just as well when the reports of the 
committee, made yesterday, came before the house, by offering 
his plan as an amendment. The majority of the committee had 
reported a system of taxation ad valorem, and the minority a 
classification and a minimum; when these came properly before 
the Convention, if he thought proper to change either, he might 
move in the way of amendment. 

Mr. ROUNTREE replied, that we had the ad valorem 
principle now, and the rate fixed was two mills. The object of 
the resolution was to inquire into the expediency of fixing the rate 
of the maximum. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery, thought the resolution ought to 
pass. He was in favor of fixing in the constitution a rate of taxa- 
tion above which the Legislature should never go, and another 
rate below which it should not fall. We should settle this matter 
permanently and break of[f] the system of demagogueism 
practised by candidates for the Legislature. The great theme on 
the stump was that we were taxed to death, and that the taxes 
should be reduced, and these men came here to carry out this 
scheme, and the matter was never settled. It would also 
serve the character of the State abroad, when it would be known 
that we had fixed in our constitution a permanent rate of taxation 
to be applied to the payment of our State debt, and to wipe out 
the black stain of repudiation which was upon us. 

Mr. SCATES had no objection to a resolution of inquiry but 
he was satisfied that this Convention would never adopt amaximum 
rate of taxation. Revenue was as vital to a government as blood 
is to the human system, and in attempting to measure the amount 
of it was too often destructive to the whole system: suppose in a 
case^of rebellion or civil insurrection, or of a foreign invasion, 
when the whole and the utmost means of the people would be 



194 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

required for the defence of the State, we are stopped by a consti- 
tutional provision from raising the necessary means to meet the 
emergency, a constitutional provision restraining us from in- 
creasing the taxes. The only maximum he would vote for would be 
50 cents on the dollar, because he believed that half of our property 
would be sufficient for any emergency. A maximum by law was 
not so bad, because that could be repealed, but not so with one 
in the constitution. 

Mr. THOMPSON said, that he had had an opportunity of 
testing this matter two years ago when travelling in the Eastern 
States. He had then an opportunity of becoming acquainted with 
the opinions entertained in relation to this State, and was 
astonished to hear the deep rooted objections and prejudices 
against emigration to this State, on account of our debt. He 
returned and on the boat he met some six or seven hundred emi- 
grants, and they said they were going to Michigan; he asked them 
why not come to Illinois; why not stop at Chicago? They answer- 
ed, Illinois has a debt too great. And to carry out what the gen- 
tleman from Jefferson said about the life blood of the system — 
they added — you touch one jugular, with your heavy taxes, the 
very moment we come there. After he had got home, he looked 
over some statistics, to see how Illinois stood, in this respect, with 
other States in the Union, and found that we stood much 
lower than many other States. He believed that if this matter 
was left with the General Assembly, it, being governed by patriotic 
desires to encourage emigrants, would never have high taxes. He 
said that he believed that the prejudices existing against Illinois, 
was [sic\ the work of other States, and their agents. He would vote 
for the resolution. 

Mr. Z. CASEY said, that perhaps it would be proper in him 
to state that this subject had been enquired into, and discussed in 
committee, and they thought it would be better to report, and let 
the Convention fill up the rate of the maximum, below or above 
which the Legislature should never go, or at least until certain 
objects had been accomplished. He would suggest that as the 
committee had reported, it would be as well, when that report 
came up, for the gentleman to present his plan, and not to ask the 
committee tore-enquire into a question which they had acted upon. 



THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 1847 195 

Mr. ROUNTREE said, he would rather the resolution 
should go back to the committee. 

Mr. HARVEY said, that he was always in favor of voting for 
resolutions of enquiry, but his mind was so made up, and his 
opinions so fixed, upon this subject, that for once he would vote 
against even a resolution of enquiry. If we were to fix a rate in 
the constitution, and the people were to become more able to pay 
their debt, here was a barrier against their paying it, except 
in the slow means which this rate would allow. He was not afraid 
of the debt, or of the people's not paying it. The idea of repudia- 
tion is not entertained by any of the people, and he was prepared 
to say, for he had not the information before him nor did he know 
the amount of the debt, but that the people now were able to pay 
the whole amount of interest. He hoped the resolution would 
not even go to the people. 

Mr. HARDING said, he hoped the resolution would pass. He 
was not willing to give the Legislature unlimited power of taxing 
the property of the people. 

Mr. LOUDON made a few remarks, when the previous ques- 
tion was moved and seconded. 

And the vote being taken on the adoption of the resolution, it 
was carried. 

Mr. KENNER offered a resolution, directing the committee 
on the Legislative Department to enquire into the expediency of 
drafting a provision prohibiting the Legislature from passing any 
law the power to pass which is not expressed in the constitution. 
And also that the yeas and nays should always be taken on the 
final passage of every bill, and that a majority of all the members 
elect shall be necessary to pass a bill. 

Mr. CONSTABLE said, that as the committee have already 
reported on this subject, he moved to lay the resolution on the table. 

Mr. THORNTON asked him to withdraw, and he said there 
was a difference between the report and resolution. 

The resolution was then laid on the table. 

Mr. KITCHELL offered a resolution, directing &c., the 
committee on Law Reform to provide for a prohibition of the 
Legislature amending any general law, till the same be published. 
Carried. 



196 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. CHURCHILL offered a resolution, appointing a com- 
mittee to inquire into the agricultural, mineralogical and other 
resources of State; which was carried. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of McDonough offered a resolution, 
directing the president to issue certificates to the members for the 
amount of their pay and mileage to the 24th inst. 

Mr. DAVIS of McLean, moved to lay the resolution on the 
table; which was lost. 

Mr. CONSTABLE hoped the resolution would not pass till 
its propriety had been discussed. Though he did not admit that 
we were governed by the law of the Legislature, still as it was the 
opinion of the Convention, we should conform to its provisions. 
He doubted whether we had the power to withdraw money from 
the treasury until we had completed the session. 

Mr. GEDDES, though not himself in want of money, there 
might be some gentleman who had need of the money, and they 
ought to be permitted to have it. 

Mr. PALMER, of Macoupin, read from the law, and said, 
there was no force in the objection and the only question was, 
should the members have it. He thought they ought, and the 
objection was untenable. 

Mr. WOODSON offered an amendment to the resolution, 
"that such sum should not exceed two dollars a day." 

Mr. DAVIS, of Massac, moved to lay the amendment on the 
table; the yeas and nays were ordered, and resulted, yeas 78, nays 
60. 

Mr. CONSTABLE moved to amend by adding that "the 
president should issue such certificates every Saturday." 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery said, he was not wealthy nor 
had he much money, but in case he did, he had friends from whom 
he could obtain what he wanted. But he could not understand 
how gentlemen, who had voted in the Legislature for four dolls, 
a day for themselves and for this Convention, and who had voted 
to take the gold and silver from the treasury, belonging to the 
school fund, and to the children of the State, to pay themselves 
with, should now be found voting for this amendment. He 
regretted this^proposition to take ^2 a day had been introduced. 

He would,iin due course of time, introduce a resolution pro- 



THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 1847 197 

viding that those who voted for and presented resolutions allowing 
members $2 a day should be compelled to take only what they 
voted for, and then let gentlemen come forward with their patriot- 
ism and Buncumbe resolutions in proper style. 

Mr. CONSTABLE said, it was not very difficult to see that 
the remarks of the gentleman were directed to him; and he wished 
to say a few words in explanation of his course in the Legislature, 
not because any feeling had been excited, for he felt not in any 
way the force of the remarks. He had performed his duty as a 
member of the Legislature; the manner in which he had performed 
that duty had been before his constituents, and he flattered himself 
that they had shown their approval of his conduct. He was not 
a ?2 a day man. He had voted for paying the members of the^ 
Legislature ^4 a day, and had voted for allowing the members of 
this Convention ?4 a day, because he thought that sum not 
too much. 

He then explained at length in relation to the appropriation 
of the money belonging to the school fund. He said that there 
were men here who held Auditor's warrants — speculators and 
brokers — and who hearing that the money was in the treasury 
were about to demand it; and the Treasurer had recommended 
them to appropriate it to the payment of their expenses. 

Messrs. MINSHALL, DAVIS, of Montgomery, and CON- 
STABLE continued the debate. 

Mr. WILLIAMS thought that the Convention should feel 
themselves under great obligations to the members of the last 
Legislature, for their kind provision for them of $4 a day. And 
that we should be more kind and tender towards them in our 
speeches. They had assumed all the responsibility of making 
this provision for us and we should feel quite comfortable under 
their provision, and should speak more kindly of them. He had 
voted for our receiving but %2 a day, because if we were going to 
cut down the pay of all future Legislatures we should fortify our 
precept by our example. 

Mr. BOND explained the object he had in view in offering the 
resolution which he did at the opening of the Convention. 

Mr. DAVIS of Massac said, that he was in thelastLegislature 
and had voted for J4 a day, because he thought that sum 



198 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

was not too much. He had not voted for the bill calling for this 
Convention, because he considered some of its provisions uncon- 
stitutional; however, if the item appropriating $4 a day for the 
pay of the members of this Convention had been an isolated item, 
he would have voted for it. The course of the gentleman from 
Wabash was highly honorable, and tended to break up the spirit 
of demagoguism. He hoped that they would not leave this 
Convention until they had fixed the pay of the members of the 
Legislature at a permanent sum; and thus break up all this 
contrivance and management about the pay of the members of 
the Legislature. He was now as he was at the session of the 
Legislature, and when the appropriation came up to pay the 
members $4 a day, he had voted for it, because he thought it was 
not too much for a faithful member of the General Assembly. He 
did not think we had power to repeal that part of the act of the 
Legislature which provides for the pay of the members of this 
Convention; and he had no doubt that if such an act were done 
that a madamus could be got out and the officer compelled to pay 
the sum fixed by law. He believed that there were but a very 
few of the members of the last Legislature in the Convention, but 
a majority of those who were here were ^4 men. 

Messrs. Woodson, Davis of Montgomery, Logan, Constable 
and Servant, continued the debate; which, between the two first, 
became rather excited and warm, and which was prolonged to 
much length by explanation, queries, &c. 

A motion to adjourn was taken and lost. 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin, said, it was to be regretted that 
so much feeling had been shown — they should learn to take every 
thing in good feeling, and to give back in the same spirit. He 
came here from a county where they took and gave everything. 
He had come here to receive $4 per day, and when he was elected 
his constituents knew how much he was to receive, and they knew 
also that he would not take anything less. Gentlemen had 
insinuated that those who were disposed- to take the $4 per 
day sheltered themselves behind the act of the Legislature. He 
sheltered himself behind no law. If there was no law, he would 
vote for ^4 a day, because he thought it was no more than just. 
He would use no special pleading, but he would meet them in the 



THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 1847 199 

general issue. He had listened with his accustomed admiration 
to what had fallen from the gentleman from Sangamon and 
admired its ingenuity. He had admired that gentleman from the 
first time he made his acquaintance, for his never-failing ingenuity, 
and he did not know but that it was, in some degree, owing to the 
fact that the very first case he (Mr. P.) had in the supreme court 
the gentleman from Sangamon had trembled him out of it. 

He hoped the resolution would pass. Many of the members 
may want the money, and he appealed to the gentleman from 
Wabash to withdraw his amendment. Although, said he, I would 
not care if the money could be drawn out weekly. He knew what 
he could do with it. And there were many of his constituents 
who would be very glad to receive weekly remittances from him. 

Mr. CONSTABLE said, that after the good natured speech of 
the gentleman, he would withdraw his amendment. 

And the resolution was passed. 

Motions to adjourn till to-morrow at 8 1-2 and 9 and 10, a. m., 
and till this afternoon at 7, 6 1-2, 6 and 5 were made and lost. 

And then the Convention adjourned to meet at 4 p. m. 

AFTERNOON 

Mr. ROBBINS offered the following resolution: 
Resolved, That the committee to provide for the alteration and 
amendment of the constitution inquire into the expediency of 
amending article 7th of the constitution, by substituting in place 
thereof, the following, to-wit: Whenever two-thirds of the 
General Assembly of this State shall think it necessary to alter 
or amend this constitution, they shall propose such alterations or 
amendments to the people, and it shall be the duty of the Governor, 
by proclamation, to lay the same before the people, at least four 
months before the next ensuing election for members of the General 
Assembly; and if a majority of all the members of both branches 
of the General Assembly, elected at the said election, shall approve 
of all or part of the said proposed amendments, the amendment 
or amendments so approved of, shall be submitted to the people 
for their ratification or rejection, and such amendments as shall 
be so ratified by a majority of the legal voters of this State shall 
become a part of the constitution. 



20O ILUNOIS mSTOmCAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. KITCHELL offered a substitute, instructing the com- 
mittee to report an article, &c., differing slightly with the original. 

Mr. ECCLES moved to amend the substitute by making it a 
resolution of inquiry. 

Mr. KITCHELL said, he had drawn this substitute with a view 
of taking the sense of the Convention. The vote being taken, the 
amendment was carried. 

Mr. DAVIS of Massac moved to lay the subject on the table. 
Lost. 

Mr. DEITZ offered an amendment, that amendments to 
the constitution should not be submitted but once in five years. 
Lost. 

And the vote being taken on the substitute, it resulted — yeas 
40, nays 41. No quorum. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Madison moved to lay the substitute on 
the table — yeas 61, nays 37. No quorum. 

Mr. WITT moved a call of the Convention, and afterwards 
withdrew it; and the vote being taken on laying the substitute on 
the table was decided in the affirmative. 

Mr. KENNER offered an amendment. 

Mr. SCATES said, he had no objection to a resolution of 
inquiry, but he would oppose the principle of giving the Legislature 
power to propose amendments to the constitution. They would 
never let it alone, but at every session would be tinkering at it. 

Mr. CONSTABLE said, if there was any force in the remarks 
of the gentleman they would apply as well to the constitution of 
the United States, which allowed amendments to be proposed at 
any time; yet he did not see that Congress was very often tinkering 
the constitution. The gentleman seemed to think that the con- 
servative principles of the State was [sic] collected in that Conven- 
tion, and that when we went away it would be forever lost; that 
the Legislature nor anybody else would ever go right; that all the 
wisdom of the State was centered in that Convention, and in 
the gentleman from Jefferson (Mr. Scates) particularly. 

Mr. BROCKMAN agreed with the gentleman from Jefferson. 
He thought stability was required for our safe government, and 
that our constitution should not be left open for amendment. He 
felt confident that the Legislature would be always at work upon it. 



THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 1847 201 

Mr. WHITNEY, though he admired the gentleman from 
Jefferson for the ardor and sincerity with which he supported every 
view taken by him in the Convention, he was compelled to disagree 
with him on this subject. He (Mr. W.) had lived in a State where 
such a provision was in the constitution, and from the years 1821 
to 1836 there had been but few amendments proposed — not more 
than four or five. 

Mr. CROSS of Winnebago moved the previous question — 
seconded and the resolution was adopted. 

Mr. McCALLEN offered a resolution in relation to military 
affairs, but withdrew it at the suggestion of Mr. Whiteside, who 
said the committee were ready to report. 

Mr. CONSTABLE offered a resolution, that the committee 
on Bill of Rights inquire, &c., of omitting the restrictions upon 
those people who had rights in common in certain lands, and con- 
tained in article 8, section 8, of the present constitution. 

Mr. SERVANT said, that he had several petitions on the sub- 
ject, and had written home for some information, and when it 
arrived he would like them all to go together before the committee. 

Mr. CONSTABLE then withdrew his resolution. 

Mr. SPENCER offered a resolution that the committee on 
Rights be, &c., report a provision that property of married women 
be exempt from execution. Adopted. 

Mr. LOGAN offered an additional rule that two-thirds of the 
members shall be necessary to constitute a quorum for business, 
but that a less number might order a call of the Convention and 
adjourn. Carried. 

Mr. BOSBYSHELL offered a resolution calling upon the 
Auditor for certain information. Adopted. 

Mr. VERNOR offered a resolution that the committee on 
Legislative Business should inquire, &c., and prohibit any person 
holding two lucrative offices at one time. Carried. 

Mr. KENNER offered a resolution referring to county organ- 
ization; which on motion, was laid on the table till 4th of July, 1849. 

Mr. BOND offered a resolution that the committee on Rights 
be instructed to report a provision prohibiting free negroes from 
emigrating into this State, and that no person shall bring slaves 



202 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

into this State from other States and set them free, and that 
sufficient penalties be provided to effect the object in view. 

He said, that he thought this the proper time to give this 
question a fair and calm discussion, and had so framed the resolu- 
tion as a test. He proceeded to give his reasons for introducing 
the resolution, and to state the grounds he occupied on this 
question. In doing so, he said, he had no desire to wound the 
feelings of any delegate, or impugn the motives which governed 
other gentlemen who occupied a different position. There was 
no one who had a greater desire to do justice to that class of un- 
fortunate individuals, called free negroes. But they already had 
become a great annoyance, if not a nuisance, to the people of 
Illinois. While he would do the utmost to protect the rights of 
those who held this kind of property, which was recognized by the 
domestic institutions of sister States, he would do nothing to 
fasten more tightly the bonds by which these people were held in 
slavery. In his part of the State he had seen little settlements of 
these free negroes spring up, and their object was to aid slaves 
from the south to escape their masters. This was not right. But 
while he would not go to a man's stable, unlock it, and steal there- 
from a horse, he might, if he met a negro whom he thought was 
escapmg from his master, not ask the man to give an account of 
himself, and thereby stop him in his flight. He considered that 
there was no use of extending our philanthropy in favor of these 
people, unless we were willing to admit them to the privilege of 
the ballot box, and give them all the rights of freemen and citizens 
of a free republic. Can we, or ought we to, do this? He would 
answer nay. After alluding to the objects of colonization, he 
said, that he wanted no persons to come into this State, unless 
they came with right to be our equals in all things, and as freemen." 

Mr. LOUDON offered an amendment; which was ruled out 
of order. 

Mr. BROCKMAN said, that the people of his county were 
unanimous in their opposition to the emigration [jzV] of negroes. The 
people of Schuyler and Brown were nearly all opposed to it. The 
negroes have no rights in common with the people, they can have 

^A much longer account of Bond's speech may be found in the Sangamo 
Journal, July 1. 



THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 1S47 203 

no rights; the distinction between the two races issogreat as to pre- 
clude the possibility of their ever living together upon equal terms. 

Mr. ADAMS moved to amend by striking out all after the 
word "resolved" and inserting the following: "the Legislature 
shall have no power to pass laws of a severe or oppressive character 
applicable to persons of color." 

A motion to lay the amendment on the table was made, and 
the yeas and nays were ordered and taken — yeas 92, nays 46. 

Messrs. Church and Pinckney explained their position on 
this question. 

Mr. CYRUS EDWARDS* name being called, he rose and said, 
that if the vote were taken without a word of explanation, it 
might be inferred that those in favor of laying the amendment on 
the table, would be in favor of the adoption of the converse propo- 
sition to that contained in the amendment. He wished to exclude 
that conclusion, as far as he was concerned, and he would there- 
fore state that he should vote for laying the amendment on the 
table, under a rule which he had prescribed for himself, that in 
those points where he considered the constitution to be correct 
as it stands, he would make no attempt to alter it; and in relation 
to this subject, he considered the constitution as it stands could 
not be improved by any alteration. 

Mr. LOGAN'S name being called, he rose and said that he 
thought it was necessary to make a brief explanation. It was a 
subject of a good deal of delicacy and one upon which it was diffi- 
cult at all times clearly to distinguish between judgment and pre- 
judice. He should vote to lay this amendment on the table, 
however, upon the ground that he regarded it more in the light 
of an abstract proposition than anything else. The question as 
to what laws would be oppressive, was one for the consideration 
of the legislature, and one which ought to be left to their judgment 
to determine. 

Mr. MINSHALL'S name being called, he observed, that he 
considered such a provision as that embraced in this amendment 
wholly superfluous, and, he thought, the constitution, therefore, 
ought not to be encumbered with it. He would vote for laying 
the amendment on the table. 



204 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. SERVANT'S name being called, he said he adopted the 
reasons stated by the gentlemen from Madison and Sangamon, 
and would vote yea. 

The yeas and nays being taken they resulted as follows: — 
yeas 92, nays 46. 

The question then being on the adoption of the resolution — 

Mr. BOND desired the yeas and nays. 

Mr. CHURCH would not make a speech, but desired to offer 
a few remarks. Gentlemen characterized what he deemed sound 
principles on the subject under discussion, as abstractions. His 
object was not to deal in abstractions, but to view matters in the 
light of common sense. It had been stated that nature had set 
up a barrier against blacks as a race, and that the privileges of 
common humanity should not be extended to them. If this be 
so, nature was wrong; which he was not willing to admit. This 
doctrine was behind the spirit of the age, and if we were to sustain 
it, we should be the objects of scorn to the world. Would emi- 
grants from Pennsylvania and others imbued with sentiments of 
humanity, come to this State, if the proposition made here in 
relation to blacks were to become a part of our organic law? No, 
sir; and they would regard such a provision as violating, not only 
the plain dictates of humanity, but the principles contained in the 
great charter of our rights — the Declaration of Independence. 
He desired that on the subject of slavery, the Constitution should 
leave it where it was left by the Ordinance of '87 — that there shall 
be no slavery or involuntary servitude in the State. Our present 
constitution provides for slavery as it existed when adopted; and 
although susceptible of a different construction, slavery was con- 
tinued for years, under the juggling of courts in their judicial 
decisions. Gentlemen here have gloried in this as a free State. 
He would indeed glory in such a State. And he was therefore 
opposed to engrafting in the constitution any doubtful provision, 
or one which required every officer of the government, from the 
Governor down, to be a picket guard, to oppress the colored race. 

He wanted the constitution to be worthy of a free State — and 
to render it so, he would not have it, in the remotest degree, nor 
by any possible construction, sanction slavery, or oppress the 
colored race. He was opposed to laws on this subject, which 



THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 1847 205 

were a blot upon our statute book, but would leave that matter 
with the legislature, with the confident hope that the dictates of 
humanity would control the action of that body, when it shall 
convene under the amended constitution, if we shall be so fortu- 
nate as to perfect a constitution which shall receive the sanction 
of the people. 

Mr. CHURCH moved to lay the resolution on the table. 

At the request of Mr. PINCKNEY the motion was with- 
drawn. 

Mr. PINCKNEY said: Mr. President, I hope the motion to 
lay upon the table will be withdrawn, that I may have an oppor- 
tunity of explaining. 

It was not my purpose to agitate this question unless it were 
forced upon me; and I should have said nothing upon these resolu- 
tions of the gentleman from Clinton, had not the ayes and nays 
been called. 

But as the case now stands, and driven as I now am, and have 
before been into a kind of dilemma, I claim and shall take the 
privilege of explaining myself. I have been, by what I consider 
the indiscreet zeal of gentlemen from the North and South, called 
upon to place my vote upon the journal, on questions that it did 
not suit my views either to favor or oppose, in the shape in which 
they were presented to the convention, but nevertheless, I voted 
unflinchingly, and without any effort at an explanation. 

I am willing, sir, to occupy this position in silence no longer; 
the position is one forced upon me. It is a very singular position. 
How does it happen that at the North I am termed a pro-slavery 
man; and here, by some, an Abolitionist? How does it occur that 
in passing from my home to this place, about aoo miles, I find my 
principles identically the same, viewed in so different a light? I 
know not, except it be that I occupy a middle ground between 
two parties contending with each other, and as all mediators are, 
I am obliged to receive the blows and balls of both. 

An Abolitionist! Why, Mr. President, I would as soon be 
called almost anything else on earth as a political abolitionist; 
and yet, I suppose I must patiently bear it, as there is no remedy. 

The gentleman from Clinton has again sprung this question 
upon me, and the ayes and noes are called. To let it pass as I 



2o6 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

have others touching the same points, I cannot; and yet, I will 
barely explain. 

The gentleman says, the time for action upon this subject has 
come, and we must defend our State. My own opinion was that 
the time had not come, and therefore I wished to let the matter 
rest; but, if the gentleman is correct, and the proper time is here 
in which we should act, it would seem as though we should first 
wipe out the dark stain that now rests upon our State. It be- 
comes us to remove the foul stigma, which some of our odious 
laws have brought upon us. I most unhesitatingly assert here 
before this body, and am willing to declare it before the world, 
that some of our late laws touching the treatment of negroes are 
a disgrace to our State; they would be a disgrace to any people 
claiming to be free, enlightened and humane. 

The gentleman has an object in view in moving these resolu- 
tions — he would show by making them a part of our constitution — 
by keeping negroes out of our State under a heavy penalty, that 
we are determined to protect the rights of our sister States. 
Rights! What rights? The right to chase an oppressed and un- 
fortunate fellow being through our territory; to drag him to 
prison; to beat him, and at the same time to prohibit me, or any 
man on this floor from giving him a morsel of bread or meat, 
though he be starving? A right to compel us to force a perishing 
woman from our door; and drive her forth into the pitiless peltings 
of the midnight storm! Are these their rights? I can not admit 
them; they conflict with higher authority. They fly in the face 
of Jehovah. His law calls upon me to feed the hungry and succor 
the distressed. This with me settles all; and I shall endeavor ro 
obey it, notwithstanding these rights. 

Do not misunderstand me; while I would feed the unfortunate 
hungry negro, I would take no part in stealing or secreting him. 
The gentleman would put a stop to the system of stealing negroes 
and running them off through our State. He cannot more strong- 
ly disapprobate the " under ground railroad " than do I. It is a 
disgrace to any man to be aiding or abetting that system. I look 
with supreme contempt upon that man who enters the premises 
of a master for the purpose of enticing away his slave; who teaches 
that slave to escape at all hazards; to cut his master's throat; to 



THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 1847 207 

steal his best horse, to ride him to death, and then steal another. 
These things I cannot approve, nor can I commend; nay, I must 
censure those who countenance them. 

The gentleman says, if among us, they are not to have a vote, 
nor to hold office. My vote stands recorded upon this subject, 
and it agrees with his views. I am not for passing laws to give 
them the right of suffrage, but for a different reason from the 
gentleman's. It is simply this: no class of men in our popular 
government can enjoy equal rights and privileges with us, until 
the mass are willing to grant the same, all legislation to the con- 
trary notwithstanding. This alone is sufficient to determine my 
course with reference to the African suffrage. The people will 
not yield it. If any man propose to keep these unfortunate per- 
sons from our State by just and humane measures, I shall not 
object. I am in favor of removing them not only from this State, 
but from all the States, that they may in some other place enjoy 
human rights and privileges, in truth as well as in name; but I 
desire it not to be done by violence. I therefore concur with the 
gentlemen in giving the Colonization Society great praise; it 
deserves it; it has my best wishes and my warm support. 

The gentleman from Brown expressed a view that I was sorry 
to hear on this floor. Is it possible that he would rather see this 
a slave State, than have it longer exposed to the ingress of negroes? 
Is it true that God has made so broad a mark of distinction be- 
tween blacks and whites, that the latter cannot endure the prox- 
imity of the former? My observations here teach me that they 
are somewhat intimate; but I forbear to dwell on what is so appar- 
ent to all, and I leave the subject. 

Mr. TURNBULL said he considered this matter as properly 
belonging to the legislature, if it were necessary to make any en- 
actment in relation to it; but he was of the opinion that as it 
stood at present it was about as well as they could make it. 
Nothing was to be gained, he thought, by agitating the question.]^^ 

Mr. ALLEN said, he saw nothing in the resolutions to call out 
this discussion. He had listened to the gentleman last up (Mr. 

''^This account, the closing debate of the afternoon session of June 24, 
is taken from the Sangamo Journal, July 1. 



2o8 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Pinckney) in his effort to define his position, but really did not 
know where he stood; on which side, or on both sides. He could 
not see what this resolution had to do with the present statute 
laws of the State. It only provided that no negroes should come 
here for the future. He was in favor of a prohibitory clause 
against their emigration [sic\ into the State, for those that were 
here were good for nothing, either to the state, the church, or 
themselves. They were all idle and lazy and the part of the State 
that he came from was overrun with them. It had been the custom 
for some time for the people of Kentucky, Alabama and other 
states to bring their old and worn out negroes, and those whom 
they emancipated, into this State and into his section of country, 
and the people desired to prevent this, and to get rid of those 
already there. 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin thought the introduction of this 
subject was unwise and productive of no good. Almost all the 
evil growing out of the excitement upon this question had been " 
produced by the persons occupying the extremes of both parties. 
On the one side were those who were honest, sincere and consistent 
in their opinion, and men of the most respectable character, who 
devote all their zeal, ardor and means for the accomplishment of 
their object; men of the one idea principle; and on the other side 
was a class of persons who, to check abolition, used the most 
violent language and often occupied very untenable ground, and 
they together have contributed, more than anything else, to create 
the great excitement on this question. He would ask gentlemen 
to reflect upon the consequences of this resolution. If it was 
adopted and its provisions inserted in the constitution, a large 
class of the community would be against its adoption. Why then 
unnecessarily provoke a battle against the constitution. Intemper- 
ance on one side was as bad as on another. Every impulse of his heart 
and every feeling of his, was in opposition to slavery, and if his 
acts or votes here would do anything to ameliorate the condition 
of those held in bondage no man would exert himself more zealously 
than he; no one would do more to remove the great stain of moral 
guilt now upon this great republic — but he looked upon every 
proposition either for or against that object as checking the good 



THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 1847 209 

work, and sooner than adopt such a proposition as is now before 
them, every vote in his county would go to sustain the old consti- 
tution. 

Mr, EDWARDS of Sangamon moved an adjournment. 
Carried. 



XVI. FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 1847 

Prayer by Rev. Mr. Barger. 

Mr. THORNTON offered an -amendment to the resolution 
pending at the adjournment yesterday — providing that the Legis- 
lature should have power to make all necessary laws in relation to 
negroes. In presenting the amendment he said, that he did so 
because he thought we should leave the matter with the Legislature 
for their action, and to public sentiment. 

Mr. NORTON said, that he desired to state the reasons which 
would govern him in his vote upon this question, and why he 
should vote against the resolution and the amendment. He was 
happy to say that he did not find himself in the dilemma in which 
other gentlemen were placed. He opposed this resolution because 
he deemed it wrong in principle and wrong in practice, and could 
give the reasons for going against it without feeling himself called 
upon to define his position. He would give his views, founded, 
as he thought, upon principles of right. The resolution, as he 
understood it, had two objects — the first, the exclusion, by penal 
enactments, of all free negroes; the second, a prohibition against 
their emancipation and settlement in this State. The first of 
these he considered a direct infring[e]ment of the constitution 
of the United States, which he, as a member of the Convention, 
had taken an oath to support, and which was regarded as the 
glory of the country, and gave us a character abroad. No one 
would contend that we had the power to infringe that constitution 
in any of its provisions. That constitution says, "that the 
citizens of one State shall be entitled to all the privileges and 
immunities in the several States." 

This resolution prohibits free negroes from coming into the 
State. Does that sacred instrument — the constitution of the 
United States — say "white" citizens. No, sir, you may 
search in vain in that instrument for the word white, or black, or 
yellow. What citizens does the constitution recognize ?— -All 
native born and naturalized citizens. He would refer gentlemen 
I 210 



FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 1847 211 

to the State of Vermont, no distinction is made in her constitution; 
there these people have all the priv[i]leges possessed by the whites; 
they have property and a right to vote. Go to Massachusetts, 
where he thought they had a little notion of what was liberty — 
government and right, and there they are entitled to hold property, 
a right to vote, and, in theory, if not in practice, a privilege of a 
seat in the General Assembly. These men are citizens of those 
States. Can we say then that a citizen of Massachusetts, Vermont 
or New York shall be prohibited from settling in the State of 
Illinois, in direct violation of an article of the constitution of the 
United States? If that constitution can be violated in one provi- 
sion, it can be in another. Was any such distinction contemplated 
at the adoption of that constitution? Do you think that the men 
who framed that constitution would ever have permitted the word 
"white" to go into the constitution? Every delegate in the 
Ganvention that framed that constitution from the North — from 
Virginia and Maryland, would have voted against it. And if they 
had put it in, the constitution would never [have] been adopted by the 
people. He came not there to produce excitement by a discussion 
on this subject. He would rather have avoided it, but by the 
introduction of this resolution the question had been forced upon 
them. He would ask the gentleman who introduced this resolu- 
tion, if he remembered the time, when it was attempted to put 
such a provision as this in the constitution of Missouri, how the 
whole north opposed it, and that Missouri could never have been 
admitted into the Union with that provision in her constitution, 
without some explanatory clauses. The people would have let 
her fall into the dust before they would have consented. He was 
not prepared to say that those born in servitude and yet slaves are 
citizens, this question did not arise, and he was not disposed to 
argue it. The first principle of this resolution is unequal, unjust 
and opposed to the first principles of free government. These 
colored people came to this country not of their own accord, we 
brought them here, they cannot get away; it is said to colonize 
them, how? they cannot colonize themselves. He would not 
insert a provision inviting them to our State; nor would he have 
one to prohibit them. Is it just, equal or republican to say in our 
constitution that an honest colored man, with property and per- 



212 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

haps education, shall not come to this State because some men 
of color who are here are lazy? Our armies were now fighting at 
the south and the probability is that we will extend the area of 
our freedom, and that States are to come into the Union with 
people of every stripe and color, and can they come in without 
full and equal rights? If this clause be inserted into the consti- 
tution he would guaranty 10,000 votes against it, and in the 
county of Will he would guaranty a majority of 1,000. The 
whole north would oppose it. This resolution was the very thing 
to produce excitement; such things had been always the cause of 
it all over the length and breadth of the land. Having thus 
justified his vote, he did not consider he should define his position. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery was not desirous of discussing 
this subject; but while he was sitting there, willing to let resolu- 
tions of inquiry, to which he was opposed, pass in silence, he was 
not willing that gentlemen should tell him that the green north 
was opposed to this and that subject, and if it passed, the green 
north would defeat it. Gentlemen get up here and unblushingly 
say that negroes are equal to them, and unblushingly say that 
they should enjoy all the privileges of life, social and political, and 
then charge the south with having caused the excitement. Who 
first introduced this matter by a motion to strike the word 
'white' out of a resolution, and then moved the yeas and nays 
upon it. A gentleman from the north. It was the north 
that had caused this excitement and not the south. When, 
sir, I get up here and advocate that negroes are entitled to 
all the privileges of citizenship — social and political — I hope the 
tongue which now speaks may cleave to the roof of my mouth. 
There is a barrier between the two races which it is vain to attempt 
to destroy. He had not arisen to discuss this matter and create 
excitement, but to repudiate the assertion that our morals should 
justify us in admitting negroes to the enjoyment of our social and 
political rights. The gentlemen from the north speak their 
sentiments, and those of the south have the same right. He said 
that the object of the abolitionists was to dissolve the Union. 
He had no more confidence in the abolitionists than he had in the 
dark and damnable demons of the lower regions. 

Mr. NORTON rose— but 



FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 1847 213 

Mr. WILLIAMS claimed the floor as a peacemaker. He said 
the people had gone to great expense in calling this Convention to 
reform and revise the government, and not for the purpose of 
speaking or making provisions about negroes or other little things. 
There was \sic\ the Legislative and Judiciary Departments which 
required reformation, and it was for this object that the people 
sent them there. He regretted that in carrying out these prin- 
ciples they had permitted those subjects to be introduced. He 
had no fault to find with the mover of the resolution or with those 
who differ from him. 

The question was not an abolition one, nor one to admit 
negroes to social and political equality — but simply, will we permit 
negroes, after they have given security not to become a burden 
upon the Stat€, and complied with our laws, to the poor privilege 
of cultivating our soil and breathing our air. He was not inviting 
them to come to the State. The African race had been degraded, 
not from their own crimes, but they had been raised in servitude 
and without education. Take the heroes of Buena Vista and 
Cerro Gordo and carry them into a foreign land, and subject 
them to servitude, and the 4th generation will be as degraded as 
the negro race. Mr. W. cited several cases which had come under 
his notice of negroes working and toiling for money with which 
they desired to purchase friends and relations then in slavery. 
In conclusion he said, the resolution was more suited for the 14th 
than the 19th century. 

Mr. WITT moved the previous question. 

Mr. LOGAN said, that this was a subject which he had always 
expected would agitate this Convention. At the same time, it 
was one which he hoped gentlemen would learn to discuss with 
temper. — He hoped that the discussion would proceed and with 
good temper, and that the Convention would listen calmly to 
what was to be advanced for and against the proposition. He 
trusted that the gag law would not be put in force on a question 
which a large number of the people considered of vital importance. 
He was not afraid to discuss any question on God's earth. He 
respected the abolitionists and believed them to be honest and 
sincere, and was willing to listen to what they had to say. He 
was certain the result would be to leave the constitution as it now 



214 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

is. The question was one which affected the interests and feelings 
of a large population of the State, not only abolitionists but 
others, and he was desirous that their representatives might be 
heard. Mr. SHIELDS thought that as the question had been 
discussed so fully in Congress and in other places, no new light 
could be thrown upon the matter now by a longer discussion. 

Mr. HURLBUT hoped the previous question would not be 
seconded. There was no use in dodging the question, which might 
as well be settled now as at any other time. He was not to be 
affected by taunts from the north, nor will he suffer them to 
be thrown in his teeth from the south. He would discuss it on ■ 
principles of law and morals. 

Mr. DEMENT said, he would vote to sustain the previous 
question, because he intended to vote upon the question with those 
gentlemen who desired to be heard. He had heard sufficient from 
them, even before the discussion, to induce him to go with them 
on this particular subject. He hoped, therefore, they would not 
think hard of him when he voted for the previous question. He 
did not care for hearing an argument when his mind was made up. 

Mr. SERVANT opposed the previous question. 

Mr. WEST said, that although he was a young man, he did 
hope the previous question would not be seconded, because he had 
a desire to express his views on the subject. The county he 
represented had more of this population than almost any other, 
and he knew his constituents desired that their representatives 
might be heard. He would discuss the question with a proper 
temper. 

Mr. MINSHALL was not afraid to hear the discussion upon 
this or any other subject; and he thought that if any steam had 
been engendered that it would be better to let it off at once. 

Messrs. Hogue, Davis of Montgomery, and Mason, all 
opposed the previous question, and advocated a discussion now. 
And the vote was taken and the previous question was not 
seconded. 

Mr. MASON moved to lay the resolution on the table, and 
that all the laws in relation to negroes be printed. 

Mr. KITCHELL moved to lay the motion on the table. A 
division of the question was demanded, and the motion to print 



FRIDAY, JUf^E 25, 1847 215 

was laid on the table. The question was then taken on laying on 
the table the motion to lay on the table, and decided in the 
negative. 

Mr. HURLBUT said, he desired to discuss this question 
without branching off into a discussion of collateral subjects, or 
exciting angry feelings. He said he would rather vote for the 
resolution than for the amendment, because it was more direct; 
but he would vote against both upon principle. The constitution 
of the U. S. says, a citizen of one State shall be entitled to all the 
privileges and immunities of citizens of the other States. It is not 
in the power of the Convention to infringe this — they cannot get 
over it. A citizen of Massachusetts was entitled to become a 
citizen of any other State. The south had raised an enquiry 
whether the colored persons have the rights of citizenship; that 
question was not applicable here. The question was, have we the 
power to say that citizens of those States shall not come here. It 
will not do for Illinois to say that other States have not the power 
to make citizens, when she has made citizens of a class of persons 
in a way unknown to other States. Suppose we should pass a 
law that a citizen of New York shall not come into this State, how 
will you enforce it? The constitution of the U. S. directly over- 
rules it. As to the policy of the law: the gentlemen from the 
counties on the Mississippi, say they suffer from these free negroes 
— that is one of the evils of all frontier States; that they come 
there and are a bad population. But have we the power to make 
a penal law applicable to one class of citizens, and not generally. 
No doubt the State has power to pass a general law requiring all 
persons coming into the State, to give a bond not to become a 
burden on the State. N. York has the power to pass a law, 
requiring captains of emigrant vessels to observe certain restric- 
tions, but that is only the exercise of an internal police regulation 
and is general. Let us make a law as applicable to those who 
come into the State at the north, as well as those at the south, 
one is as good as the other and the only difference is, that one is 
white and the other black. Let the law be general; but if we pass 
a sweeping general law, which is special in its application, it must 
be apparent that it is unconstitutional. It was a thing which he 
never would consent to. He was not sufficiently acquainted with 



21 6 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

those parts of the State affected by these people to know if these 
laws are required; but he would believe the statements of the 
gentlemen, as it was not his design to impugn the assertions of 
anyone. He would vote against the resolution, if on no other 
ground, because its adoption would endanger the ratification of 
the constitution. 

Mr. KINNEY of St. Clair said, that the present question was 
one in which his county felt a very lively interest. It was situated 
near St. Louis; they had already nearly five hundred free colored 
persons collected there from Missouri, and they were perfectly 
familiar with their habits. He was satisfied that a large majority 
of the people of his county would vote to sustain the resolution of 
the gentleman from Clinton. Those members from the northern 
part of the State did not know how lazy, and good-for-nothing 
these people were. If they did and could witness their worth- 
lessness their opinions would be changed. He was in favor of a 
fair and calm discussion of this question and saw no necessity for 
excitement. It had nothing to do with abolition and abolitionists, 
and appeared to him a mere question of State policy — a political 
question. It has been said by the gentleman from Will (Mr. 
Norton) that he has objections to this resolution because it 
infringes the constitution of the United States. He says that it 
guaranties to citizens of one State the rights and privileges of 
citizens of other States. He forgets that that article of the consti- 
tution has been construed to mean that citizens from other States 
shall be entitled only to the rights enjoyed by the citizens of the 
State into which they came. Have we not by our present consti- 
tution prohibited them from voting — a right enjoyed by citizens 
of our State — and has not that constitution been ratified by the 
Congress of the United States. He says we have the power to 
put these negroes under bond not to become a charge upon the 
State — this admission is all we want. Suppose a citizen of 
another State should come here, could we compel him to give this 
bond ? No, sir; we could not. His argument, therefore, is ground- 
less. To carry it out, suppose in another State a negro was 
entitled to hold an ofiice, and he came here to this State, would he 
not be entitled to hold office here too? The supreme court of the 
United States says that citizens of one State shall enjoy the same 



FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 1847 217 

privileges as are enjoyed by citizens of the other States. The 
gentleman from Boone says he holds not to the grounds of the 
abolitionists, yet, he, (Mr. K.) was much surprised to hear him 
say that the foreigners, who come to our State, were no better 
than the negroes. It is not good policy to engraft upon our 
constitution — the fundamental law of the State — a prohibition 
against this class of worthless population, and his reason for it 
was that we are surrounded by a number of slave States, all of 
whom had an exclusive provision in their constitution against 
these free negroes. Where, then, do they go? They cannot 
reside in those States, and they all come into Illinois. When they 
getold,decrepid [sic] and good-for-nothing, their owners emancipate 
them and send them into this State. We may have laws upon 
our statute books against persons bringing or sending them here, but 
howcan we enforce it against a man in another State. Hewouldask 
gentlemen to look at Ohio, the greatest abolition State in the 
Union, and when Randolph's negroes were emancipated the agent 
attempted to settle them in that State, but the people rose in a 
body and drove them back and would not allow them to come 
there. They did not want them, they knew what sort of a popu- 
lation they were, and how worthless and degraded they become, 
and how troublesome they always were. If we would allow the 
negroes any kind of equality we must admit them to the social 
hearth. It was then that equality commenced. We must live 
with them and permit them to mingle with us in all our social 
affairs, and, also, if they desired it, must not object to proposals 
to marry our daughters. 

Mr. ARMSTRONG moved to lay the substitute on the table, 
so as to get at the original resolution and make it a resolution of 
inquiry; but withdrew it at the request of 

Mr. WEST, who desired to express his views. He said, that 
the gentleman last up had alluded to what was correctly the con- 
struction to be placed on the article in the constitution of the 
United States. He said, that it could hardly be presumed that a 
citizen of the State of Massachusetts should be entitled to the 
privileges of our citizens. He believed that free negroes living 
amongst our people was a great evil, and that the best way to 
remedy that evil was, by a prohibitory clause in our constitution. 



2i8 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

to confine them to those free States where they could find a secure 
and a more equal home. One of the primary influences which 
induced the people of his county to settle in Illinois, was that they 
might not only be relieved from the evil effects of slavery, but, also, 
of a colored population. These negroes were, mostly, idle and 
worthless persons, and his people were very anxious to get rid of 
them. He had received a letter from one of his constituents this 
morning, which said that several horses had been stolen, and that 
to guard against these negroes, it was almost necessary to keep 
a watch. 

Allusion had been made to Massachusetts. He loved and 
venerated that State, but there were principles contained in some 
of her laws which he never could recognize. The gentlemen from 
the north, who had spoken on this question, had come from coun- 
ties which have but five, ten, or fifteen negroes; in our county 
there were 500, and he would say that the evil was 500 times 
greater. He hoped some provision would pass, so as to have this 
matter settled and prevent scenes of violence. We had already 
had such scenes — the scenes of 1 837 — and they were to be regretted, 
and they must ever cast a shame upon our State. He had heard 
it said in the Convention that in the canvass, the tree of public 
sentiment had been shaken, and that the fruits had been gathered 
in that hall; and when he looked around him he felt proud of his 
State, on account of her representatives, and he must be permitted 
to say, that he never before beheld such an august assembly. 

Mr. DAVIS of McLean did not agree with the gentleman from 
Madison. He could not believe that the evil existed to such an 
alarming extent. He said that he was in favor of leaving the mat- 
ter stand as it does in our present constitution, and was unwilling 
to pass any provision which would endanger the adoption of 
the constitution. He had no desire to engraft anything in that 
constitution which would offend the people of any portion of the 
State. He was satisfied that he was sent here to remedy certain 
great evils in the government, and after having done so was not 
disposed to have the work rendered useless or endanger its adop- 
tion by this or any other such provision. He would leave the 
matter for future legislation and public sentiment, to dispose of it 
as the times should require. He was opposed to allowing people 



FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 1847 219 

of color the right to vote, and he regretted that the gentleman from 
Boone had said that people from other countries were to be put 
upon a par with negroes. This was casting another fire-brand 
into the Convention. 

Mr. CHURCH said, he desired not to make a speech for the 
purpose of making one, but merely to allude to some parts which 
had not yet been touched upon. He asked if such a provision 
were inserted, how could it be enforced? The laws they had 
already were not sufficient to keep these people out. He would 
like to hear some gentleman define this. He had been a little 
amused, when this question came up yesterday, to hear the 
gentleman from Sangamon say it was nothing but an abstract 
principle. [He read from the constitution of the United States, 
Mr. Logan explained.] The gentleman from Montgomery had 
said there was a barrier between the two races — the blacks and 
the whites — if there was, why attempt to raise it higher. If 
nature had placed it there, leave it to nature, and not, by your 
laws, make the difference wider. Put this provision in the consti- 
tution and you exclude more whites from the State than you do 
blacks. We are unable to extend the report of Mr. C.'s remarks 
further. He advocated that the matter should be left to the action 
of the Legislature, and deprecated the introduction of this provi- 
sion into the constitution as unsafe, unjust, and impolitic. He 
also asked, if the ordinance was in force, and Illinois a free State, 
how was it that, at the last census, 380 slaves were returned? 

Mr. LOGAN replied to the gentleman last up, and told the 
gentlemen of the north that when they said that if this provision 
was inserted in the constitution, that they would all vote against 
it, they should remember that the north was only a part of the 
State; that the State had two ends, and if the north voted against 
the constitution because of this provision, the south had the same 
right to say they would vote against it if it was not inserted. He 
advocated for some time a midway policy of leaving the matter 
to the Legislature. He was opposed to making this provision the 
all absorbing topic that was to influence the people's votes upon 
the adoption of the constitution. This would be the case in many 
of the counties, if this provision was inserted. 

Mr. BROCKMAN said, that he was sorry to hear gentlemen 



220 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

throwing out threats that if such a provision was adopted that 
they would defeat the whole constitution. The people of his 
county were much concerned in this question, but they would not 
reject the constitution upon this or any one subject. If we are 
to cling to some favorite question, and if we do not succeed defeat 
the whole, we had much better adjourn and go home. He had 
been opposed to the reduction of the members of the Legislature, 
because it affected his county, but if the Convention had reduced 
the number down to 60, he would have submitted, and would have 
voted for the constitution. The majority should govern, that 
was the true democratic principle. He had never heard before 
that negroes were citizens under the constitution of the United 
States, and entitled to all the rights and immunities of citizens. 
Would gentlemen like to see their posterity sitting in a legislative 
assembly with a mixed delegation, as was the case in other places? 
We must either admit these negroes as citizens or exclude them. 
He would vote for the exclusion forever. On motion the Conven- 
tion adjourned. 

AFTERNOON 

Mr. JENKINS said, it was perhaps necessary for him to 
define his position. If the naked abstract question of the right 
of one man to hold another in slavery were presented to him, he 
would very probably answer no. But no such question was now 
before them. He considered that the slaves were in a better 
condition now than if they were in their own country. He 
believed the negroes were a degraded race, and could not agree 
with the gentleman from Adams, that the heroes of Cerro Gordo 
could ever be reduced by servitude to any such degradation. He 
conceived this could not be the case, and he would cite the Indian 
race, which never could be reduced to slavery. The question of 
slavery was the one which would, if at all, divide the Union, and 
it must be discussed. — But he considered the question before them 
as a political one — one of State policy only; and it was, whether, 
in the present state of circumstances, we should introduce a pro- 
vision into our constitution to exclude negroes from coming into 
our State. It had been agreed that we should restrict the Legis- 
lature in many things, so as they might not hereafter be disturbed; 



FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 1847 221 

and he asked if there were any questions which would be more 
difficult to settle by a Legislature than the present one, and if 
there was a more proper time to settle it than the present? — If a 
man votes for this resolution, he can hardly escape the charge of 
being inhuman, and of a desire to render the negroes more degraded 
than at present, but self preservation was the first law, and for the 
purpose of peace and harmony, it was our duty to so fix the con- 
stitution so that this matter should be forever settled. We had 
only to look at our sister States, and see that this population had 
led the people into tumult and violence, to know that it was our 
duty to put a stop upon it. It might, for a while, be a punishment 
upon them, but eventually result in their own good. It would 
compel them to fix their residence in those States where they 
belonged, and the people of those States might do something to 
benefit their condition. Our friends at the north do not under- 
stand our position at the south. They think us wrong, because 
they cannot see the evils of this class of population among us. 
They have in their counties but few negroes, whose interest and 
policy it was to behave themselves. But we have them in large 
numbers, whole settlements of them, who do nothing, idle away 
their time, and are as trifling, worthless, filthy, and degraded as 
in any part of the Union. It had been said that if we put this into 
the constitution that the people of the north will go against 
the constitution. Now, suppose we say that if they put into the 
constitution a power to create banks, which our people are opposed 
to, will they hesitate because it may endanger the adoption of the 
constitution? They do not change their course, but insist upon 
such a provision. If the provision contained in the resolution be 
put into the constitution and thereby it is defeated, let it be so; it is 
much better to have this question put at rest. It has been said 
on all sides that there was no confidence to be put in the Legis- 
lature. Why leave this question, then, with them, where it will 
forever be open to agitation, and by the abolitionists, whose policy 
was always to agitate. 

Mr. PALMER of Marshall opposed the resolution in a few 
words, and then addressed the Convention upon the benefits of 
colonization. 



222 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. MOFFETT offered an amendment, that if the resolution 
passed it should be submitted to the people in a separate article. 

Mr. BOND said, that it might appear strange that he differed 
from the gentleman from Adams, (Mr. Williams) because people 
had often said that in case that gentleman should drop off first, he 
(Mr. B.) would be obliged to think for himself. He then replied, 
at length, to the gentleman from Will, and reminded the Conven- 
tion that his resolution was only applicable to those negroes who 
may hereafter come into the State. 

Messrs. Churchill, Kitchell and Knowlton, each, made 
some remarks on the question; which we are unable to give for 
want of room. 

Mr. SINGLETON advocated, in a speech of some time, the 
adoption of the resolution; and while we have a report of his 
remarks, we regret that want of space precludes their insertion. 

Mr. Geddes advocated the resolution, and Messrs. Deitz 
Sharpe and Powers opposed it. 

Mr. KITCHELL, who proceeded to address the Convention. 
He desired to see such steps taken by the Legislature as would 
arrest the increase of the negro population in this State; and he 
was for leaving the subject to be disposed of by that body. 

Mr. KNOWLTON addressed the Convention, in opposition 
to the resolution. He was opposed to any alteration of the pres- 
ent constitution in relation to this matter. He was opposed to 
the introduction of any subject that would excite sectional feel- 
ings, and he was extremely sorry to hear the terms north and south 
so often reiterated in this debate. They were not assembled to 
make a constitution for a particular latitude; they were not here 
to consider the interests of one particular portion of the State to 
the exclusion of another. For his own part, he was for pursuing 
the course which, to his judgment, seemed the best calculated to 
promote the interests of the whole State. He could say, as some 
other gentlemen had done, that he had come here free and un- 
trammeled upon this question, as well as almost every other; and 
he should endeavor to act entirely free from prejudice and sec- 
tional bias. He was for leaving the present constitution exactly 
as it stood in relation to this matter. 



FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 1847 223 

Mr. SINGLETON said, that he had a proposition which he 
desired to submit, and he would have submitted it, had he been 
here, when the resolution now before the body was presented, and 
before the pending amendments had been offered. As he was 
not, he would not be able to present his proposition at this time; 
but he desired, before the vote was taken, to make a few remarks 
explanatory of the position which he occupied upon this subject, 
and of the views which his constituents, and nearly all the inhab- 
itants of that region of country in which he resided, entertained. 

A great deal had been said ahout the effect which the incor- 
poration of such a provision as that contained in the resolution 
now under consideration, was to have upon the North and upon 
the South. It seemed to him that gentlemen should not consider 
the effect which the incorporation of a principle in the constitu- 
tion was to have upon any particular portion of the State. The 
only enquiry should be, was it a correct principle? Was it calcu- 
lated to advance the interests — to preserve the peace and quietude 
of the State? These were proper inquiries. But if there was to 
be a system of log-rolling, if a principle was to be adopted because 
it was desired by any one portion of the State as an offset for some 
advantage to be granted to, or gained by another portion, then 
he thought it would be better to adjourn and go home. No good 
could be accomplished by acting upon such a system as that. He 
would vote for what he considered to be right, no matter whether 
his constituents coincided in opinion with him or not. If he be- 
lieved that a principle was right, he would not stop to inquire 
whether it was so considered by the people at large. If he was 
convinced of its correctness it was all that was required to secure 
his vote. His own feelings had always been upon the side of 
slavery. He came from a slave State. He had lost none of his 
sympathies for slave-holders and slaves. He had a deep sym- 
pathy for slaves, for he knew that the conduct of those men in his 
State and in others, who pretended to be endeavoring to better 
the condition of slaves, instead of bettering their condition, was 
involving them in deeper degradation. This question ought to 
be met with an honest endeavor to preserve and promote as far 
as possible the happiness of the unfortunate negro, and to set at 
rest all those animosities which have heretofore disturbed the 



224 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

country. There was no question which had disturbed, and which 
would in future disturb and agitate this country so much as this 
question of slavery. He feared it was to be the power which was 
to break the cord which had bound us together as a nation. The 
federal cords he feared were to be broken by it. This union, 
unless a different course were to be pursued, would be dissolved, 
and it would be by means of this very question. It would not 
be so if we were to come up and meet the question as we ought. 
We were told that we would build up an abolition party, here by 
the adoption of such a resolution as the present. He cared not 
though this should be the result. — Were we to be deterred from 
the avowal of our principles, because by doing so we might array 
a party against us? This was not a sound doctrine. It was right 
that there should be some constitutional provision upon this sub- 
ject. It should not be left to the uncertainty of future legislation. 
We came here professing to have in view retrenchment. — This he 
conceived would be a very important step towards that object; 
for if the question were left open for the next ten years, one-quarter 
of the time of the sessions of the legislature would be consumed 
by legislating upon this very question. Petitions would come in, 
asking for the abolishment of existing laws, and the subject would 
be continually agitated. 

The object of the resolution, as he understood it, was to pro- 
vide some permanent rule by which both parties should be gov- 
erned upon this subject. He was aware that a great number of 
persons had come to Illinois for the purpose of getting rid of 
slavery, not for the purpose of interfering with their neighbors, 
and of breaking down the institution of slavery; but to avoid the 
evils attending that institution, seeking repose, and endeavoring 
to get rid of the annoyances to which they were subjected in a 
slave State. Such men had a right — it was their duty to use 
every means in their power to keep free negroes, as well as slaves 
out of the State. Now, if we are to have, continued Mr. S., any 
slavery, that is negro slavery (for God knows we have enough of 
of every other kind), it is useless for gentlemen to talk about mak- 
ing this a free State. The States have agreed among themselves 
that no person who is bound to labor in one State, shall escape 
into another and be protected in consequence of any law in force 



FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 1847 225 

in that State to which he has escaped, and this has laid the foun- 
dation for a constitutional provision. The United States upon 
the adoption of a federal constitution, thought it best that a gen- 
eral rule should be laid down upon this particular subject. It 
was then expected that individual States would each carry out the 
provision thus inserted in the constitution of the United States by 
the enactment of State laws. But we see that it has not been 
done. Pennsylvania at one time decided that the legislature had 
no power to carry out the provisions, and Illinois decided that it 
had. For myself, I believe that each of the States had the power, 
and that we have the power to enforce it by legislation as well as 
by constitutional provisions. But I prefer that it should be a 
constitutional provision, in order to give it permanency, in order 
to avoid that fluctuation to which the laws of Illinois are very sub- 
ject. Now, are we to leave this subject open, and permit Illinois 
to be a receptacle for all the worthless, superannuated negroes that 
slave-holders may chance to send into the State? Sir, it is not 
because that I dislike the negroes that I object to their coming 
into the State. I feel a sympathy for them; but this is a matter 
of self-defence. We are bound as a defensive measure to incor- 
porate some provision of this sort into the constitution. We do 
not know how soon the question may come up in the legislature, 
in such a manner as will endanger the peace of the whole State. 
We know that it is a most exciting question, and by whatever 
method we can most effectually avoid its recurrence, it will be the 
best policy for us to adopt that course; and nothing less will do, 
it appears to me, than the insertion of a provision in the constitu- 
tion, which will settle the question as long as the constitution 
remains in force. 

Now, it has been contended by those who are opposed to the 
resolution, that we have no power to do it, because the constitu- 
tion of the United States provides that the citizens of each State 
shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities which are 
enjoyed by the citizens of another State to which they may emi- 
grate. Now, suppose a person acquired citizen-ship at the age of 
seventeen in the State of New York, and should then come to this 
State; would he be entitled to the rights and privileges of a citizen 
here? No sir, he would be subject to the limitations and restric- 



226 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

tions which are imposed by the laws of Illinois, in regard to citizen 
ship. Well, have we not the same power to limit as to color that 
we have in regard to age? Unquestionably. 

It is a curious argument that has been used by some gentle- 
men, that by excluding negroes we exclude white men. I do not 
know how this is to operate, unless it apply to some particularly 
attached friend of the negro, who may feel disposed to follow him. 
If that be the case, then we should express it fully in the provisions 
which we adopt. Now, if there are men in Illinois who prefer 
the society of negroes, if there are men so extraordinarily anxious 
'to associate with negroes, let them accompany their favorites to 
some locality where their presence may not be objectionable. 
But in this State, there are men who prefer the society of white 
men, and who have come here to get rid of an intolerable nuisance. 
Sir, I could with some patience listen to a proposition for the toler- 
ation of the presence of the negroes in this State, if it came from 
the negroes themselves, but when I have it coming from those who 
are acting from motives of interest, who are contemplating profit 
from the presence of negroes in the State, I have no patience. 
The distinction which God has made between the races can never 
be abolished. Sir, I do hope that the resolution will pass, and I 
have here another which I intend to bring before this Convention 
at the proper time. 

Mr. Singleton here read the resolution which he had intended 
to offer. 

The objections which will be brought up against a proposition 
of this sort are the very same as those which are urged against 
the proposition now before the convention. That this convention 
ought not to legislate upon the subject, for it is legislating. It is 
high order of legislation, and those are very questions for this 
body to legislate upon. Now, I ask is it not proper that we should 
adopt some permanent provision on the subject? Is it not a 
question of sufficient importance to demand the action of this 
body? If not, then let the subject be disposed of at once. If it 
is, let us say to those who are advocating the introduction of 
negroes here, and for extending to them all the privileges to which 
citizens are entitled, that we are not disposed to engage in any 
thing of the sort either now or hereafter. 



FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 1847 227 

But it is said, it is better to postpone the consideration of this 
subject. Now, I think every man's mind must be made up in 
regard to it. What would you think of a man who would say to 
you, I have a negro and you have a pretty daughter, I should like 
a marriage contracted between them, I do not want you to decide 
now, postpone your decision until some other time? Now, this is 
what is proposed here. It is an indirect proposition that the 
people of this State shall abolish all these distinctions which have 
heretofore preserved and protected society for the benefit (I do 
not know whether it is for the benefit, whether it is for the amel- 
ioration) of the condition of the negro or degradation of the white 
population. I did not intend when I arose to detain the conven- 
tion so long as I have, but it is a subject on which I feel deeply, 
and it is a question of more importance, I think, than it seems to 
be considered by gentlemen who have been discussing it. I hope 
at least that gentlemen will consider well, before they give their 
votes, whether it is not better to adopt a permanent rule on the 
subject, than to leave it open to future legislation. 

Mr. GEDDES next addressed the Convention. He was desir- 
ous that some prohibition against the introduction of a black 
population into the State should be enacted, but he was appre- 
hensive that the insertion of such a provision into the constitu- 
tion would create much difficulty, and might endanger its final 
adoption. If he were here in a legislative capacity, he would feel 
himself called upon to sustain such a proposition as the one now 
offered, but he thought it would be better that it should not be 
made a constitutional provision. He felt deeply for the condition 
of the unfortunate negro. He regarded slavery as a moral evil, 
but he did not believe that it could be abolished in the United 
States without creating ten-fold greater evil. The people of the 
South he regarded as the best friends of the blacks, and the climate 
of the Soutl- was best suited to them. He thought, therefore, 
that there would be no hardship or inhumanity in prohibiting 
them from entering this State; and he would be glad, therefore, to 
see such a prohibition enacted by the Legislature.]-' 

Mr. LEMON was in favor of a prohibitory clause against 

"This insertion is taken from the Sangamo Journal, July 1. 



228 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

negroes coming into the State for many reasons, which we have 
it not in our power to furnish. In conclusion, he said, that he 
did not believe they were altogether human beings. If any 
gentleman thought they were, he would ask him to look at a 
negro's foot! (Laughter.) What was his leg doing in the middle 
of it? If that was not sufficient, let him go and examine their 
nose; (roars of laughter) then look at their lips. Why, their 
sculls [sic] were three inches thicker than white people's. 

Mr. WEAD briefly opposed any provision in the constitution, 
as the Legislature had full powers to legislate on the matter. 

Mr. McCALLEN opposed leaving this matter for future 
legislation, and advocated the adoption of the provision. 

Mr. VANCE moved the previous question. 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin moved to lay it on the table. 

Mr. SINGLETON moved an adjournment. Lost. The yeas 
and nays were taken on laying the subject on the table — and 
resulted — yeas 80, nays 55. 

Mr. LOGAN moved that Mrs. Brown and daughters have 
the use of the Senate chamber on Saturday evening, for a concert. 
Carried. 

And then, on motion, the Convention adjourned. 



XVII. SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 1847 

Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Palmer. 

Mr. SINGLETON presented the petition of H. G. Grimsley 
and others, for a provision in the constitution to prevent the 
emigration of negroes to, and the emancipation of, slaves in this 
State. Referred to the committee on the Bill of rights. 

[Mr. S. said: It would be a reflection upon the sagacity of the 
House to attempt to conceal his object in presenting, at this time, 
the petition that had just been read. The subject had been large- 
ly discussed, and on yesterday laid upon the table of this house, 
where gentlemen intend it shall remain. He was not content 
with this discussion, or satisfied with the course taken upon the 
subject of this petition, by honorable gentlemen on this floor. 
He was determined not to be satisfied. It was a question of im- 
portance to the people of Illinois, and so considered by his con- 
stituents, and for them he should speak. He had, therefore, 
availed himself of this method of reflecting the will of his constit- 
uents, and of expressing his own deep feelings upon the subject. 
If I had asked this house to reconsider their vote of yesterday, 
upon the resolution of the honorable gentleman from Clinton, and 
that reconsideration had, the proposition would not have been in 
a shape most acceptable to its friends. In order, then, to present 
this question to the convention in another and different shape, 
and at the earliest moment allowed by its rules, the form of peti- 
tion has presented itself as the only practicable mode. 

My object, continued Mr. S., is not to abridge the privileges 
of the unfortunate negro, except as incident to the assertion of a 
principle and the correction of a most dangerous and diabolical 
practice. I speak, sir, upon this floor for my constituents and for 
myself, leaving to the superior ability of each friend of the prop- 
osition, contained in the prayer of the petitioners, the expression 
of their own views and the feelings of those they represent. 

The petitioners have indicated in their prayer to this body. 



230 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

their desire for such a permanent constitutional rule, upon the 
subject of free negroes, as will of itself effectually prevent their 
introduction amongst us, and at the same time prohibit the inter- 
ference of our citizens with the negro property of our neighboring 
States, and secure the States and territories of the United States 
against any violation, by the inhabitants of this State, of those 
rights which have their foundation in the constitution of the United 
States, and acknowledged and respected by their laws. 

But, Mr. President, it has been objected upon this floor, and 
elsewhere, that this is not the proper subject of constitutional 
law. And this objection, sir, comes from a quarter hitherto re- 
spected. Shall I believe, sir, that gentlemen who urge this objec- 
tion are sincere? Shall I be thus free to yield up this question — 
my high opinion of their legal learning and sagacity? Or shall I 
concede that it was made for the mere sport of the breeze, and 
when the storm should rage, new counsel would be heard? Sir, 
I cannot consent to be guilty of such gross injustice to those gen- 
tlemen as would result from an acknowledgment of their sincer- 
ity. Do gentlemen who support this objection see that if it 
prevails, that they have contributed to the attainment of a most 
important and desirable object by the abolitionists — that it 
lays the foundation, is the basis, the very platform of all their 
future operations — that without this foundation no substantial 
fabric can be erected by them in this State — but upon such a 
foundation they would erect a superstructure that would last 
until the hour of a bloody revolution? 

But at this point I am met by the arguments of gentlemen on 
the other side, "that the legislature will have ample power to 
correct this evil." Sir, I ask the gentlemen in reply, whether 
this is not a subject worthy of a permanent rule, and that it ought 
not to be subject to the changes that characterize the legislation 
of Illinois? And I ask gentlemen, whether the legislature, influ- 
enced by the example of this convention, would not rid themselves 
of the responsibility by postponing the subject to a succeed- 
ing legislature, and so on, until the evil shall have subdued our 
strength, and conquered all our hopes? If this matter is left open 
for the action of the legislature, away with all hopes of domestic 
happiness in Illinois. If this subject, of such high importance to 



SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 1847 231 

the social condition of Illinois, is not worthy of a place in our con- 
stitution, then had we better return to our constituents, never 
again to ask the honor of their trust and confidence. 

Gentlemen have said, that the principles asserted by the reso- 
lutions were correct, but could not be enforced without legisla- 
tive enactments. Sir, the friends of this measure desire for many 
reasons to take the matter out of the hands of the legislature en- 
tirely. Hence, the resolution provides that "the constitution 
shall of itself contain sufficient power to correct the evils com- 
plained of." As a matter of retrenchment, a constitutional provision 
would be eminently useful to bring the expenses of the legislature 
within proper limits. All these exciting and time-absorbing 
questions should be excluded from its jurisdiction. If the question 
should be left to the legislature, it would become the subject of 
barter and exchange in adjusting the various interests of the State. 
Gentlemen representing counties where the evil did not exist, 
would readily exchange their votes for or against the black laws, 
as they are called, for the purpose of securing some favorite meas- 
ure of his [sic] constituents. It would at once hoist the flood-gates 
of corruption, and from the fountain of power would our country 
be overwhelmed. 

But two other objections have been urged to the proposed 
provision, and with much energy upon the part of their respective 
friends. The honorable gentleman from Sangamon objects, be- 
cause in his opinion, it would endanger the adoption of the 
amended constitution. The gentleman from Boone objects, because 
in his opinion, the North would reject the constitution, and for 
the additional high and weighty consideration, that we should be 
contravening the constitution of the United States. Sir, the con- 
stitution of the United States has laid the foundation for this pro- 
vision; the States conceived it necessary in justice to each other, 
for their mutual peace and good will, and for the perpetuation of 
national harmony, that it should be so laid. The second section 
of the fourth article of the constitution of the United States, is 
intended to operate upon those only who are held to service or 
labor in any State or territory within the limits and under the 
jurisdiction of the United States, and who may escape from such 
service or labor into this or any other State or territory within the 



232 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

prescribed limits. The States owe it to each other, that this pro- 
vision should be strictly enforced, by the adoption of such per- 
manent and constitutional provisions as will effectually prevent 
the interference of the inhabitants of each, with the negro property 
of the other. But, Mr. President, this is not the constitutional 
provision by which the honorable gentleman from Boone (Mr. 
Hurlbut), seeks to establish the want of power in this Convention 
to enforce the proposition before it on yesterday; that provision 
is in these words: "The citizens of each State shall be entitled 
to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several 
States." The gentleman supposes that all distinctions of color 
are, or may become unconstitutional, — that if a negro, who by the 
laws of New York is a citizen, and may exercise the right of suff- 
rage, should emigrate to this State, he would in consequence of the 
laws of New York, and his emigration to the State, be entitled to 
all the privileges and immunities of free white citizens of Illinois. 
Sir, this doctrine is too absurd to excite the least alarm. I 
apprehend that the gentleman would not insist that a boy of the 
State of New York, who was by the laws of that State entitled to 
vote, would upon his arrival here, in consequence of the New York 
laws, be taken out of the limitations and provisions of our own 
laws concerning minors? Has New York the right to fix an age 
of majority for us, and the qualifications of our electors? — Have 
we not full power to limit the rights of suffrage to those who have 
resided twelve months in this State? And have we not, sir, a 
perfect and indefeasible right to limit it to free white men over the 
age of twenty-one years? The objections of the honorable gen- 
tleman from Sangamon (Mr. Logan), do not apply to the proposi- 
tion now before this Convention, nor sir, did they well apply to 
the proposition which was laid upon your table on yesterday. 
Sir, we have no desire to encumber the various amendments that 
will be submitted to the people: — or rather, sir, we wish this prop- 
osition not to be encumbered or endangered by any other amend- 
ment, and therefore the proposition now before the house is, that 
it shall be submitted as a distinct and separate amendment. Its 
friends rely upon its own intrinsic merit, and upon the high sense 
of popular honor and popular justice. But, sir, suppose it was 
not proposed to submit this to the people as a distinct and sepa- 



SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 1847 ^27, 

rate provision — as was the case with the proposition of my honor- 
able friend from Clinton, are we Sir, to be deterred from doing our 
duty here, because the gentleman objects that the North will 
reject the constitution? Has Illinois no other point but the North? 
Is there no South, no East, no West to the State? Have these 
points no power, no votes to give, for or against, the constitution? 
Is the voice of the North to prevail upon this floor to the exclusion 
of every other interest? Then, sir, let the south, the east and the 
west unite their feeble voices for their mutual security. If it is 
the determination of northern men to draw a line of distinction 
between the north and the south, — if the north is resolved upon a 
mixed society of free blacks and white population, with equal 
privileges, then, sir, let the line be formed that my constituents 
and myself may seek repose upon its southern side. 

What, Mr. President, are we to think if gentlemen are truly 
representing the north upon this subject? How monstrous the 
declaration they have made! How threatening to the peace and 
all the sacred virtues of the State! Have gentlemen who would 
claim for New York negroes, or the negroes of any other country, 
the privileges of free white citizens of Illinois, sir, inquired into 
the extent of these privileges? If they have not, sir, let them 
divide the sovereign power of this State into as many parts as 
there are free white male citizens over the age of twenty-one years, 
and each part will be found to contain the privileges of a citizen, 
they will be astonished at the extent of privileges they claim for 
that degraded race. Sir, the fairest daughter in the land is not 
beyond their reach; the highest pinnacle of power and station, is 
accessible to their ambition; all the refinements of society are 
crushed and swallowed up in their progress, till not a virtue is left 
to mark our once exalted and dignified race. There are, sir, upon 
this floor undisguised abolitionists, who have in this hall voted 
directly upon the subject of abolishing the distinction of color. 
Sir, I admire the manly independence of those gentlemen, the 
color of their flag is not concealed, whilst I hate and despise their 
principles; but, sir I cannot express the slightest approbation of 
the conduct of gentlemen, who from various motives have voted 
with the abolitionists in securing a most important advantage to 
them and alike dangerous to us. If gentlemen have been actu- 



234 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

ated by their regard for northern men, and what are here repre- 
sented as northern principles, then let us have an open avowal, — 
throw off the flimsy cover of specious theory, and frankly acknowl- 
edge their degeneracy, that southern opinion, and southern prin- 
ciples may see and know by what they are opposed. 

I cannot, sir, from my knowledge of northern gentlemen and 
ladies, believe that they are truly represented in all things upon 
this floor. Among them are many I feel proud to call friends, and 
to whom the idea of being reduced to the society of negroes would 
be most frightfully revolting. But, sir. If I did believe it, my 
course here would not be changed. I have made the proper in- 
quiry of my conscience, and my constituents; they answer that I 
am right. They are not willing that a handful of abolitionists 
should trample over the great body of the people of this State, 
because they threaten to vote against the adoption of the con- 
stitution. Gentlemen should not be deterred by such threats from 
giving their support to correct principles, irrespective of men or 
places. 

The effect of a principle upon a given portion of the State 
ought not to be considered. Enquire and learn the general ten- 
dency, effect and correctness of a principle, and apply it alike to 
all. But, sir, let me say, if local prejudices are to smother great 
and permanent principles, that I will pledge my constituents and 
myself against any constitution that may come from the hands of 
abolitionists without the desired prohibition. If gentlemen per- 
sist in arguing that it is not the duty of this Convention to act 
upon the question, then, sir, am I willing to meet them upon half- 
way ground, and strike out from the constitution everything 
which relates to slavery and involuntary servitude, if nothing but 
the society of negroes will suit gentlemen. Then, sir, leave every 
citizen of the State at liberty to introduce slaves if he pleases, and 
those who do not like the relation of master and servant will have 
an opportunity of indulging their taste. 

The honorable gentleman from Winnebago added one other to 
the objections already noticed, that if this provision is adopted, it 
will drive many of our best citizens from the States. Truly, Mr. 
President, a most deplorable event that we shall lose that portion 
of our population who prefer the society of negroes to that of their 



SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 1847 235 

own race and condition! Sir, if there are such men in this State 
as the honorable gentleman speaks of, they can now have my leave 
of absence. Is the time of this Convention to be employed in 
attempting to reconcile men of this kind? Sir, the world is large 
enough for us all, and I have no desire to impose any restraint 
upon the taste of any men, if they are anxious to become the 
associates of negroes, or if they desire to establish any other rela- 
tion between themselves and the negroes. I hope they may be 
indulged, but not at the expense of those who have no such taste 
or ambition. 

When a petition was presented a few days since, praying among 
other things, that this Convention should abolish all distinction 
between the white man and negro, I moved to lay the petition on 
the table until December a year, because sir, it was an insult to 
this body, who were asked by the petitioners to degrade them- 
selves; abolish all distinction between ourselves and the worthless 
herd of innumerable wretches that would flock to our State; but, 
sir, that petition was referred. For what, sir? For mere formal 
respect to the petitioners! Gentlemen thought and declared that 
it was right it should be considered. I will again refer to the case 
I supposed on yesterday — that there are two men living in the 
same neighborhood, one has a beautiful and interesting daughter, 
the other, had a well bred negro man in his employment; the latter 
proposes to his neighbor, sir, I wish you to receive my negro man 
into your family as a gentleman; extend to him the society of your 
daughter, and encourage their marriage together. Now, sir, I 
ask, could such a request be listened to by any man of ordinary 
self-respect with any degree of patience? Would he indulge the 
audacity of his unprincipled neighbor by delaying his answer? 
No, sir! Time is not necessary for the consideration of subject, 
and the answer, no, with a corresponding action, would put the 
contaminating wretch to flight. All such petitions contain in 
substance the same request, and ought to be as summarily dis- 
posed of. Members' minds were made upon this subject and they 
were ready to decide, but out of show of respect the petition must 
be referred. I have no respect, sir, for such petitions, or those 
who sign them, nor would I have them believe from this deceptive 
policy of referring that I had; and I am grateful to know that my 



236 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

name stands among the independent spirits of this body who 
voted against its reference. 

Allow me Mr. President, to return for a moment to that ob- 
jection which seems most popular and plausible with gentlemen 
who have opposed our views on this discussion. It has been 
reiterated upon this floor, that this subject more properly be- 
longed to the legislature. If it does, then let me ask if this body 
does not constitute the supreme legislative or law-making power 
of this State? It is the highest legislative power known to civil 
society, for whose good government and laws have been insti- 
tuted — an object worthy of our action and patient deliberation— 
upon the organization of society governments were erected for 
their security and protection, and as society lies at the foundation 
of government, all laws, either supreme or subordinate, should be 
framed with reference to its preservation and protection. It is 
our duty to see that it is not crushed and destroyed by the blight- 
ing curse of neglect. Society has given birth to power, and in the 
exercise of that power, its claims should first command our atten- 
tion, and be the last to be postponed. Whilst the time and 
attention of the Convention is employed in arranging the length, 
breadth and power of office, and officers, the mere details of gov- 
ernment is a great and paramount principle, to be overlooked, the 
influence of which is felt everywhere, extending itself to the family 
altar and the peaceful fireside. Sir, I cannot be content with such 
neglect of such a principle. 

I now come, Mr. President, to consider the effect of leaving 
this question open, having already adverted to the effect of such 
a course upon the legislature, and the possibility of a further 
postponement by that body. I will consider briefly, its 
influence upon the question of equality as presented by abolition- 
ists, and its moral effect upon the community at large. 

Illinois has already been the theatre of outrages which brand 
her with almost indelible disgrace. The rights of neighboring 
States have been openly disregarded, the property of our neigh- 
bors forcibly taken, and forcibly withheld. Our own halls of 
justice have been invaded to inflict this violence, and now, sir, the 
public peace and tranquility, public and private justice, a due re- 
gard for the compact between the States, our self-respect, our 



SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 1847 237 

peace at home and our character abroad, all unite in demanding 
a remedy. If this question is postponed, an important point is 
gained by the abolitionist, without which they could not succeed 
with their iniquitous schemes; hence they are emboldened by this 
temporary triumph, they see their influence is felt and acknowl- 
edged, they will come out from their hiding places, and that which 
has been done under cover of night will be openly transacted. 
The negroes, sir, will be emboldened, and the public highways will 
scarcely afford them room to pass, such will be the rapid increase 
of their numbers and consequence. 

The States that surround us have taken measures to rid them- 
selves of this nuisance whilst Illinois, with open arms, invites them 
to her embrace. It is substantially an invitation to the super- 
annuated and worthless free negroes of the south to come within 
our borders; it gives them assurance of present liberty, and future 
equality. It is in effect, a license to those who wish to engage in 
the lucrative business of negro-stealing from our sister States. It 
furnishes such men with facilities that could not be otherwise 
supplied, free negroes, thus introduced, become the agents and 
willing instruments of designing abolitionists; their depots will 
be erected upon each line of "underground railway," under the 
superintendence of some bold and enterprising free negro; and 
Illinois become the receptacle of this worthless and refuse popu- 
lation of all the States. — And we shall not find good citizens from 
abroad coming here, sir, to seek their society; but, on the contrary, 
those good citizens of Illinois, not lost to all the finer feelings of 
their nature, will seek another home. That equality here boldly 
proposed, will gradually but imperceptibly fix itself upon the 
institutions of the State. A Nat Turner will spring up to conduct 
a war of extermination against the whites. 

If, sir, in the slave States an attempt to exterminate the whites 
should have been made, is it beyond the limits of probability, that 
in Illinois,'where all legislation tends to encourage it, that it would 
also be attempted? The scenes of South Hampton in Virginia, 
will be re-enacted in Illinois; and the blood of our citizens be the 
alarming sacrifice. A minority of this body have demanded a 
remedy, without it their voice can never be still; though small in 
number, I am proud to be one of them; our position now is that 



238 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

of sentinels upon the outer walls of the ramparts of social liberty, 
and our exertions will ever be to awaken Illinois to a sense of her 
danger. History presents to us an example that gives us hope; 
the example of our revolutionary fathers forbids us despair. 

The patriotism of our glorious revolution first found in the 
hearts of a few, resisting the waves of British vengeance that 
lashed our shores, strikingly illustrates the power of the ifff, when 
coupled with unconquerable determination; but, sir, there is still 
another and broader foundation for our hopes, to be found in the 
more calm and deliberate consideration of this subject, by honor- 
able members of this convention; when they look at the tendency 
of this great question to break the cords that bind us together as 
a nation; when they consider the inevitable tendency of their 
decision, they cannot consent to return to their constituents with- 
out repairing the insult and the wrong they have done them. 

The effect of this question may be seen in the condition of our 
federal Union. The strength of our government has so far been 
equal to every internal division; but, sir, it owes its success to the 
concentrated power of a united people. The odious doctrine of 
abolition will "divide and conquer," and too much reliance on 
the strength of our government exposes us to a weaker power; 
broad, deep and firm as this government may be in its foundation, 
bold and commanding in its superstructure, it is not beyond the 
reach of such odious steps as have been allowed to abolitionists 
upon this floor. And when the time comes, sir, who will sympa- 
thize with Illinois, when the hideous shouts of exultation rise from 
a \^ictorious negro population in Illinois? What sound but the 
death shrieks of liberty? Shall we hear it?]^^ 



Mr. CAMPBELL, of Jo Daviess, asked to be excused from 
any longer serving on the committee on Education. He assured 
the Convention, that in making this request, he was not influenced 
by any change of feelings or abatement of zeal, in regard to the 
great cause of education. Whatever situation he might occupy, 
his best eff'orts should continue to be directed to the advancement 

2* This speech by Singleton is taken from the Sangamo Journal, ]\Ay 8. 



SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 1847 239 

of that cause, upon which depends in an eminent degree the moral, 
religious and political prosperity of the people. 

Mr. GREGG said, that the course of the gentleman from 
Jo Daviess (Mr. Campbell) was not unexpected to him (Mr. G.) 
after what had occurred the other day during the absence of that 
gentleman. I hope, however, said Mr.G., that what has occurred 
will not cause him to withdraw from the committee where his 
experience may be so serviceable to the Convention and the State. 

[In order to make the report intelligible, the reporter would 
here state, that Mr. Campbell is chairman of the committee on 
Education, and for the purpose of obtaining information and 
statistics, relating to the questions which had arisen and were 
likely to arise in the committee and the Convention, he went to 
Jacksonville on Wednesday last, after having apprised the com- 
mittee of the object of his visit. On the following morning, 
Mr. Edwards of Madison, from the committee on Education, 
introduced a resolution, that that committee be requested to 
consider and report provisions for the security of the school fund; 
for a system of common schools, calculated to furnish Education 
to every child in the State; and also for the appointment of a 
superintendent. After submitting the resolution, Mr. Edwards 
made a long speech upon it, which, after it was concluded, the 
chair ruled out of order, on account of a resolution then on the 
table, which was entitled to precedence. Further action upon 
Mr. E's. resolution was then postponed till the resolution entitled 
to precedence was disposed of; when that of Mr. E. again came 
up, Mr. Gregg moved to postpone it until Saturday, when Mr. 
Campbell would be present. Messrs. Edwards of Madison, 
Churchill and Servant, also advocated its postponement. 
Messrs. Williams, Evey, Davis of Montgomery, Pinckney and 
Knowlton opposed it, and, after being amended, the resolution 
was adopted.] 

Mr. EDWARDS, of Madison said, for one, Mr. President, I 
exceedingly regret that circumstances have occur[r]ed to produce 
an unfavorable impression upon the mind of the honorable member 
fromfjo Daviess (Mr. Campbell) in relation to what transpired 
during his absence. There is no gentleman in this State for whom 
I entertain a more profound respect, than the gentleman who 



240 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

stands at the head of the committee on Education, and I assure 
him and his friends, that the part I bore in the action of the 
committee which was had during his absence, was not prompted 
by the least disrespect to him, but a desire to settle certain pre- 
liminaries and to pave the way to the consideration and investiga- 
tion of questions which it was expected would come before the 
committee. I sincerely thought that the presentation of the 
resolution and the reference of the subjects included in it to the com- 
mittee, would be approved by the honorable chairman of that 
committee. It was agreed by the committee, that no final action 
should be had upon those subjects, until after the return of the 
chairman, in order that he might participate in the deliberations 
which might be had. 

So far as I was concerned, Mr. President, I had but one desire, 
that of settling preliminaries necessary to enable the committee 
to enter upon the duties appropriately belonging to them. I was 
but an humble pioneer in the important matters involved in the 
resolution, and it was not my purpose to act upon them, in the 
absence of the chairman, whose experience and information were 
indispensible to an efficient performance of the duties assigned 
to the committee. I was too deeply impressed with a sense of 
that gentleman's capacity, to attempt to act without the aid of 
his abilities. The high estimation in which he is held by the 
people, and his past services in the cause of education, entitle his 
opinions and suggestions, on all questions before that committee, 
to more than ordinary consideration. 

In conclusion, Mr. President, I will repeat, that the imputation 
that the committee acted in any manner inconsistent with a 
sentiment of the highest respect for the honorable chairman, is 
undeserved, and I hope that he will be induced to remain on the 
committee where his services are so much required. 

Mr. DEMENT said, that the course of the member from 
Jo Daviess (Mr. Campbell) was not unexpected by him (Mr. D.). 
I have, said Mr. D., heard the explanation of the honorable 
gentleman from Madison (Mr. Edwards) with much pleasure, 
and I should regret to have the member from Jo Daviess persist 
in his application to be excused from serving on the committee. 
I hope that he will reconsider his application, and not withdraw 



SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 1847 241 

from a station which he is so eminently qualified to fill, with honor 
to himself and advantage to the State. I hope that he will be 
satisfied with the explanation of the member from Madison. 

I think that the difficulty has arisen in consequence of a desire 
on the part of the committee to act seasonably upon the matters 
before them; but I think, inasmuch as the chairman was absent 
for a day or two, for the purpose of collecting data and information 
to aid the committee in their investigations, that they ought to 
have awaited his return. I did think that there was ground for 
disagreeable feelings until I heard the explanation of the gentle- 
man from Madison. 

It is well known to the Convention that the subject of educa- 
tion is one in which the member from Jo Daviess takes the deepest 
interest. He was the first to present the propositions embraced 
in the resolution, and he has distinguished himself for the zeal he 
has manifested in an improvement of the school system. These 
facts are well known, and will account for his desire to participate 
in the action of the committee upon subjects that may be referred 
to them. 

I am satisfied that there are no bad feelings on the part of the 
committee towards him, and I hope that he and his friends, of 
whom I am proud to be one, will be satisfied with the explanation 
that has been made. 

Mr. CHURCHILL said, that he supposed, when the resolution 
was introduced, that the committee was doing what the chairman 
would approve of. — He was, at the time, opposed to any final 
action upon the matters embraced in the resolution, but he did 
not then object to their being referred to the committee. 

Mr. PINCKNEY said, he hoped that the gentleman would 
remain on the committee. He (Mr. P.) did not know, when the 
gentleman was absent, that he was engaged in the business of the 
committee. 

Mr. CAMPBELL said, that he had apprised the committee of 
his intended visit to Jacksonville, and the object of it. 

Mr. CONSTABLE said, that if the gentleman from Jo Daviess 
had been present when the resolution was offered he would not 
have taken exceptions to what took place on that occasion. The 
resolution was merely one of inquiry, not intended to be acted 



242 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

upon by the Convention at that time; and when the gentleman 
from Cook (Mr. Gregg) proposed to postpone the debate till the 
chairman of the committee should have returned, no member on 
the floor was more warmly in favor of a postponement than the 
honorable member from Madison (Mr. Edwards). He thought 
that his friend from Jo Daviess was under a false impression in 
relation to the treatment he had received at the hands of the 
committee, and he desired that he would withdraw his application 
for a discharge, and consent to continue to serve as chairman. 

Mr. SHIELDS said, that he was persuaded that the committee 
intended no disrespect to the gentleman from Jo Daviess. He 
had told the gentleman from Ogle (Mr. Pinckney) that the 
chairman of the committee was absent, and that he (Mr. S.) 
thought it proper to defer action until his return. 

Mr. PRATT. As a friend and colleague of the member from 
Jo Daviess, it may not be regarded as improper in me, to express 
my views in relation to the subject which has given rise to this 
debate. In doing so, sir, I will not say that I am prepared to urge 
him to persist in his request to be discharged from the committee, 
after what has been said; but I will say, that I approved of his 
application, because I deemed it the only step he could take to 
maintain his own dignity and that of his constituents. It is 
known to this body, that my colleague had been absent from the 
people he now represents, for a period of four years, and that he 
returned to them only a few days before his election. He had 
been, during the period of his absence, serving the people in the 
capacity of Secretary of State, to his own detriment, so far as 
pecuniary matters are concerned, and it was his purpose, when 
he returned to Galena, to engage in the practice of his profession 
and repair the pecuniary loss he had sustained by accepting office. 
Independently of the ardent friendship entertained for him by the 
people of Jo Daviess, he had other pretensions to a seat in this 
body, among which were the services he had rendered in behalf 
of education. These, together with his great personal popularity, 
led his constituents to urge him to return to Springfield as a 
delegate to this Convention. He consented to make the sacrifice, 
and it is but natural that a desire should be felt to sustain the high 
estimation in which he is held by his constituents. In this, how- 



SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 1847 243 

ever, he is doomed to disappointment, if the newspaper report of 
the proceedings of Wednesday last, is to go abroad without expla- 
nation. In these reports there is no explanation of the cause of 
his absence from his seat. — [Mr. P. here read the reports of the 
Journal and Register newspapers, which did not state that Mr. 
Campbell was absent on the business of the committee.] His 
constituents (continued Mr. P.) might infer from this report, that 
he was absent from his post at the very moment when his services, 
as chairman of the committee on Education, were required; and 
this circumstance, unexplained, might go far to prejudice him in 
the confidence of those whom it is his highest aim to faithfully 
represent. This, together with a refusal by the Convention to 
postpone action on the resolutions offered by Mr. Edwards, until 
the chairman of the committee could be heard, would in the absence 
of explanation be a poor compliment to that gentleman, and in 
addition, would furnish to his enemies, abroad from here, quite 
too ready a weapon, which they might wield to his injury. These 
things were well calculated to mortify his feelings. 

It is due to the honorable gentleman from Madison to say that, 
at the time the motion to postpone was made by the gentleman 
from Cook, it was seconded by him and urged in an appropriate 
manner; but I must say, sir, in this connection, that the gentleman 
from Ogle did not, in my judgment, act in this matter with that 
delicacy and courtesy which some years' acquaintance with his 
good name and reputation had taught me to expect from him. 
When my colleague, the chairman of the committee on Education, 
notified the committee of his intended absence, it was but courteous 
to postpone any action in the Convention on subjects previously 
brought by him before that committee, until his return; yet the 
gentleman from Ogle, when the gentleman from Cook proposed to 
postpone the resolution, opposed the postponement. If wrong in 
this, the gentleman can now correct me. The course of gentlemen, 
who opposed the suggested postponement, together with the final 
action of the Convention upon the subject, I cannot, if I would, 
deny was a source of mortification to me, and especially so when 
I recollected that when the report of the committee on the 
Executive Department was printed and laid on our tables, the 
consideration of the report was unanimously postponed on account 



244 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

of the absence of the honorable chairman, who was away at the 
same time and for the same purposes as my colleague. 

When I said, sir, that I regarded my colleague's withdrawal 
from the committee as an act due to himself and his constituents, 
I did not mean to be understood as advising him not to re-consider 
his application for a discharge. My desire was that he might be 
placed in a proper light before the country, and it is a matter 
within his own discretion, whether he shall, after what has been 
said, deem it proper to yield to the general wish of the Convention 
and consent to remain on the committee. 

Mr. CONSTABLE said, I do not recollect that the member 
from Ogle urged an unqualified discussion of the question on 
Wednesday last. I understood that he desired, if discussion was 
to be had, that the honorable chairman should be present. I 
think that the member from Jo Daviess (Mr. Pratt) does not 
recollect the precise position taken by the member from Ogle. 

Mr. SCATES. I think that the honorable chairman's course 
is right. It was proper for him to call the matter up in some form, 
and place himself right before his constituents. I am satisfied, 
from what has been said, that no disrespect towards him was in- 
tended, and I sincerely hope that he will now be satisfied and 
consent to remain on the committee. 

Mr. SERVANT said, that as he had partaken in the debate at 
the time the committee had reported the resolution, he thought it 
would not be wrong in him to say a few words upon the matter 
before the Convention. He thought the matter was not viewed 
in a proper light. He never imagined that the least disrespect 
was intended by the committee, nor shown by any member of the 
Convention, towards the honorable gentleman from Jo Daviess, 
whose services and labors in the cause of education were so highly 
valued and esteemed. He hoped that gentleman would withdraw 
his request and that he would continue to afford the committee 
the benefit of his great talents and information. He thought the 
cause given for the request was without foundation, and he trusted 
the gentleman would be satisfied with the manifest opinion in which 
the house concurred that no disrespect was intended. 

Mr. DAVIS of Massac hoped the gentleman from Jo Daviess 
would yield to what appeared the almost unanimous request of 



SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 1847 245 

the house, and withdraw his request to be excused, particularly 
when it was manifest that every member desired him to retain his 
post upon the committee, and known that his great abilities were 
required upon the committee. The committee of which the 
gentleman was chairman was one of the most important character, 
and of the greatest interest to the State, and he repeated his hope 
that that gentleman would retain his position and withdraw his 
request. 

Mr. ALLEN joined in the request that the gentleman from 
Jo Daviess would withdraw his motion to be excused. Although 
he was much surprised at the time the resolution was reported, 
while the chairman of the committee was absent, and also surprised 
that it was not postponed till his return; he was satisfied, how- 
ever, that no disrespect was intended by the action of the members of 
the committee, or of the Convention. He believed that sufficient 
had been said by every member of the committee to satisfy 
that gentleman that no disrespect was intended, and to induce him 
to remain on the committee. It was the desire of the country that 
he should do so; the gentleman's talents, and the much thought 
which he had given to the subject of education, had led the people 
to expect much from him. His able report on this question, and 
in relation to the appointment of a superintendent of public 
instruction, had awakened much interest, and had directed public 
attention to him as one pre-eminently qualified to be at the 
head of a committee on that subject. He hoped the gentleman 
from Jo Daviess would withdraw his request to.be excused. 

Mr. LOUDON said, that he entertained the highest respect 
for the gentleman from Jo Daviess, and he earnestly hoped that 
the request to be excused would be withdrawn. If the committee, 
however, had thoughtlessly reported in the absence of the chair- 
man, he knew that none of the committee intended the least dis- 
respect, to mar his feelings or injure his honor. The gentleman 
from Jo Daviess had a standing high in the estimation of the 
Convention and of the country, and he hoped their unanimous 
desire would induce the gentleman to continue in his post, as 
chairman of the committee. 

Mr. LOGAN repeated what he deemed the universal desire of 
the Convention, that the gentleman from Jo Daviess would con- 



246 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

tinue on the committee, and withdraw his request. He felt sure, 
from what had been said, that the gentleman from Jo Daviess 
must feel now that no disrespect was intended by the gentleman 
from Madison, or the other members of the committee, in what 
had taken place in relation to the report. 

Mr. HARDING said, he was a member of the committee on 
Education, and was confident that the course of the committee 
had not been dictated by any feelings of disrespect towards the 
chairman. The committee had held two meetings; at the first, 
the chairman was present and presided. They met again last 
Tuesday, the chairman was not present, the members came with 
several propositions, none of which were offered or acted on 
because of the absence of the chairman. It was, however, agreed 
that a resolution should be offered, as it was understood that no 
question should be inquired into without first having the matter 
come from the Convention. He had voted for that resolution, 
although he was opposed to the principles contained in it. In all 
this, no one, so far as he knew, intended the least disrespect towards 
the chairman. 

Mr. ARCHER hoped that the gentleman from Jo Daviess 
would, after the explanations that had been given, and the dis- 
claimers of all disrespect, withdraw his application to be 
excused from serving on the committee. The cause of education 
was one in which the people of the whole State felt the greatest 
interest, and one on which they looked to this Convention to 
bestow great deliberation; and as the talent and abilities of the 
gentleman from Jo Daviess had been, heretofore, somewhat 
directed to this subject, the people of the State looked to him for 
much of the care and benefit to be secured by this favorite question. 
He hoped, sincerely, that the request would be withdrawn. 

Mr. SHUMWAY said, he was a member of the committee, 
but was not present at the meeting when this resolution was 
directed to be reported. 

Mr. KNOWLTON said, that it was, perhaps, proper in him, 
as he had taken part in this matter when the committee reported 
the resolution, to say that his course and his remarks were not, in 
the slightest degree, intended to be disrespectful to the distin- 
guished chairman of the committee — the gentleman from Jo 



SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 1847 HI 

Daviess. Nor did he think that any was intended or shown by 
the action or language used on that occasion by the gentleman from 
Madison. He hoped the request would be withdrawn. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess said, that it was a matter of 
extreme regret to him that so much of the time of the Convention 
had been occupied by this subject. He did not expect this when 
the request was made. It was true that he was absent when the 
committee met, he had gone to Jacksonville. He had not gone 
there to attend to business of his own alone; not for his own amuse- 
ment, but to get certain documents, which could not be had here, 
in reference to the very subject before the committee. When he 
returned he heard of what had taken place, and from the reports 
of the proceedings published in the papers, and the effect which he 
knew they would have on his constituents, he felt that they were 
as much calculated to injure his character, as they were deeply 
poignant to his feelings. Without being advised to do so by any 
of his friends, and without consultation with them on the subject, 
he, of his own accord, determined to withdraw from the committee. 
Accordingly, he made the request, but now, from what had taken 
place, he concluded to withdraw that request. 

Mr. EDWARDS, of Madison, approved of the highly honorable 
course of the gentleman from Jo Daviess, and feeling what was due 
to his own character, he asked to be excused from serving on the 
committee. 

Mr. DEMENT said, that he hoped the same reasons that had 
induced the gentleman from Jo Daviess to withdraw his applica- 
tion to be excused from serving on the committee on Education, 
would also induce the gentleman from Madison to do the same. 
I know not, said he, who the other gentlemen are that compose 
that committee, but I do know that there are none in the State 
whom I would rather see on that committee than those two gentle- 
men. I know not what the gentleman from Madison may have 
thought required him to make this request, but I hope that he will 
continue to serve, so that the Convention and the State might 
have the united talents of the two gentlemen. 

Mr. CONSTABLE said, that while he approved of the honor- 
able course of the gentleman from Jo Daviess, he would hope the 
gentleman from Madison would not withdraw his application. 



248 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

He was the friend of both parties, still he thought that, after what 
had fallen in the remarks of gentlemen, that his friend from 
Madison ought not to continue on the committee. 

Mr. CHURCHILL agreed with the gentleman last up, and 
considered that the conduct of the committee had been unjustly 
alluded to, and he would not continue to serve; he, therefore, asked 
to be excused from that committee. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery was of opinion that the gentle- 
man from Madison should not withdraw his application. 

Mr. SCATES, not being much versed in matters of etiquette, 
could not see, from what had transpired, any necessity for the 
request of the gentleman from Madison. He was sure that no one 
had intimated that that gentleman had acted in any way the least 
unworthy of his distinguished reputation. 

Mr. WHITNEY, after speaking in the highest terms of both 
gentlemen, and in approval of their conduct, said that, while 
he anxiously desired that the gentleman from Madison would with- 
draw his application, he would vote for excusing him if he persisted 
that his withdrawal was necessary. 

Mr. DAVIS of Massac sincerely hoped that the gentleman 
from Madison would adopt the same course pursued by the 
gentleman from Jo Daviess and withdraw his application. Neither 
the gentleman from Jo Daviess nor any of his friends desired to 
injure the feelings or the honor of the gentleman from Madison, 
and he hoped he would continue on the committee. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Madison said I respect the course of the 
honorable gentleman from Jo Daviess, and I wish not to be under- 
stood as entertaining the least feeling of disapprobation of the 
course of the gentleman or any of his friends on this floor. 
But I hope they, and the Convention, will respect my feelings, for 
I cannot act on that committee and rest under the imputation 
that must, from this discussion, be placed upon my actions. 

Mr. LOGAN explained that when he had requested the gentle- 
man from Jo Daviess to withdraw his application, that he in no 
wise admitted that the conduct of the gentleman from Madison, 
or the committee, had been wrong. He appealed to the gentleman 
from Madison to withdraw his application. He (Mr. L.) could 
not be shoved off any committee by what anybody said. 



SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 1847 249 

Mr. KNOWLTON was extremely gratified when the gentleman 
from Jo Daviess had withdrawn his request to be excused, because 
he was satisfied that no disrespect to him had been intended. He 
would not, however, desire the gentleman from Madison to with- 
draw his application. 

Mr. HAYES said, that he was one of those friends of the gentle- 
man from Jo Daviess who had requested that gentleman to 
withdraw his request, and he did not wish to be understood as 
having in any way thrown any imputation upon the honorable 
gentleman from Madison. He offered the following resolution, 
and asked its unanimous adoption. 

Resolved, That it is the unanimous desire of this Convention 
that the Hon. Cyrus Edwards shall retain his position as a member 
of the committee on Education. 

Messrs. Pinckney, Archer and Brockman hoped the appli- 
cation made by the gentleman from Madison would be withdrawn. 

Mr. CONSTABLE repeated his opinion that the gentleman 
from Madison should not withdraw his request. 

Mr. DEMENT made some remarks in reply to Mr. C. 

Mr. CONSTABLE made a rejoinder, which drew forth a sur- 
rejoinder from Mr. D. 

On motion, the Convention adjourned till 4 p. m. 

AFTERNOON 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess appealed to the gentleman 
from Madison to remain on the committee. He and his friends 
were fully satisfied of the purity of the motives of the gentleman 
from Madison in what had taken place. 

Mr. EDWARDS, of Madison said, he had no feeling of resent- 
ment towards anyone in that hall. He had acted only in obedience 
to a sense of duty towards the committee. The cause of his 
request was not here, for he felt that no one then would suspect his 
motives or attribute to him anything dishonorable, but when the 
published proceedings of this day are sent forth with such com- 
ments as might be made, the imputation that he had endeavored 
to supplant the honorable gentleman as the head of that com- 
mittee, would be placed upon him. This is why he desired to be 



250 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

excused from the committee. He would leave the matter with 
the Convention. 

The resolution offered by Mr. Hayes being withdrawn at the 
request of Mr E., the request of that gentleman to be excused 
was unanimously refused. 

Mr. CHURCHILL'S application was also refused. 

Mr. Z. CASEY, from the committee on Revenue, to which had 
been referred the resolution directing them to inquire &c., of fixing 
a maximum rate of taxation, reported the same back and asked to 
be discharged from the further consideration of the same. Agreed 
to. 

Mr. SHARPE offered the following resolution; which was 
adopted: 

Resolved, That the 1 1 th section of the 2d article of the present 
constitution be referred to the committee on the Organization of 
Departments and Officers connected with the Executive Depart- 
ment. 

Messrs. Marshall of Mason, Vernor, Scates, Thornton, 
Davis of Massac, Kinney of St. Clair, Cross of Winnebago and 
Powers offered resolutions of inquiry which were referred to 
appropriate committees. No copies of the same having been 
furnished, we are unable to give them. 

Mr. SERVANT offered the following resolution; which was 
adopted: 

Resolved, That the committee on the Judiciary be instructed 
to inquire into the expediency of exempting persons having con- 
scientious scruples, from serving on juries, upon such terms as 
shall be deemed reasonable and just. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess offered the following; which 
was adopted: 

Resolved, That the Executive committee be requested to inquire 
into the expediency of inserting in the constitution a clause pro- 
viding for the election of sheriffs for term of years, and making 

them ineligible for more than one year consecutively. 
And then, on motion, the Convention adjourned. 



XVIII. MONDAY, JUNE 28, 1847 

Prayer by Rev. Mr. Green, of Tazewell. 

Mr. CANADY offered a resolution, that the committee on 
Incorporations report a clause, to be incorporated into the consti- 
tution, granting banking privileges upon certain conditions. 

Mr. MARKLEY offered a substitute, that said committee 
should report a clause prohibiting banks. 

Mr. McCALLEN moved to lay the subject on the table. 
Lost — yeas 62, nays 49. [sic] 

Mr. SINGLETON offered a resolution of inquiry in relation 
to officers for life. Carried. 

BANKS 

Mr. SCATES moved that the Convention go into committee 
of the whole, and take up the subjects made the special order of 
the day for Friday last; which motion was carried, and the Con- 
vention resolved itself into committee of the whole, Mr. Edwards 
of Sangamon, in the Chair. 

The propositions submitted by Messrs. Churchill, McCallen 
and Gregg, were taken up by the committee. 

Mr. SCATES offered the following: 

Whereas, the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations, 
and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes," and 
"to coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, 
and fix the standard of weights and measures" has been granted 
exclusively to the United States, and the power "to coin money, 
emit bills of credit, make anything but gold and silver coin a 
tender in payment of debts" has been prohibited to the States; 
therefore. 

Resolved, That the States ought not to attempt to do indirectly 
what they have no power to do directly. 

Resolved, That the committee on Incorporations be instructed 
to inquire into the expediency of submitting, for the consideration 
of the people at the polls, whether they wish or desire to place a 
251 



1S1 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

total prohibition upon the Legislature to attempt to create, extend 
or authorize any banking powers or privileges in this State, or any 
exclusive powers or privileges not common to other citizens. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery said, that he did not rise to 
detain the Convention by any lengthy remarks, but he desired 
to express his views upon this question. — He was one of those who 
were opposed to banks of any kind or under any system; and he 
came from a region in this State where the people were all opposed 
to banks. He, himself, had always been opposed to banks, either 
local or State banks. He looked upon the present as one of the 
most important questions that was to be decided by this Conven- 
tion, indeed, it was more important than any other, for it would 
have a great weight upon the interests of the people, their pros- 
perity and trade. It would, also, affect, more than any other 
single question, the fate of the Constitution which this Convention 
would adopt. The Convention had a different task to perform 
than had the Convention which framed the constitution of the 
United States. The delegates to that Convention came from 
different States, and endeavored to retain all the power to the 
States which was possible, and they gave Congress the power to 
pass no laws the power to pass which was not expressly stated in 
the constitution. Our duty is different. Our Legislature may 
pass any law which is not forbidden by the constitution, or which 
does not come in conflict with the constitution of the United States. 
This great power, thus vested in the Legislature, pointed out the 
necessity of placing some restrictions in the constitution upon 
their committing any acts affecting the happiness, wealth and 
prosperity of the people. He remembered the time when there 
was but one bank in the State, and he remembered, also when 
there was but one newspaper — published at Edwardsville. He, 
also, well remembered how this paper would publish lists of the 
banks whose notes would be received at the land office, and that 
when men in Kentucky and other States would bring those bank 
notes here to invest in land, they would find that the list published 
the week before had been stricken out and new banks inserted. In 
1 8 19 the Edwardsville bank closed. The Legislature then tried 
their hand again, and created the bank at Vandalia, whose notes 
bore 1 per cent, interest. These went for some time, and after 



MONDAY, JUNE 28, 1847 253 

awhile they became so depreciated that they passed two for one, 
and then three for one. The Legislature finally passed a law to 
cut the notes in half so that each end of a dollar bill should be 
taken for half a dollar, and the halves of a $2 bill for $1.50. This 
state of things continued a long while, and the notes became so 
depreciated that they sold for a trifle; speculators made fortunes 
by buying them up. The treasury finally redeemed them. — From 
1824 to 1835 we had no banks, and I ask any man if, during that 
time, we were not prosperous and out of debt? Drovers from 
Pennsylvania and elsewhere came here and bought up the stock 
of our people, and paid them in cash for it, and all things went on 
well. We were prospering slowly but surely. There were no 
suits going on, except litigated cases; no suits before justices of 
the peace, except when parties disputed, or where men were unable 
to pay the debt. 

In 1834 or '2s the Legislature chartered a State bank, and 
revived the Shawneetown and Cairo banks, and these institutions 
scattered their branches all over the State; and then we commenced 
the internal improvement system, which would never had [sic] 
been the case had it not been for the inflated currency of these 
banks — then came the rise in the prices of everything — pork went 
up suddenly to 5I, cows to J 10, and labor from ^10 per month to 
$20 — all the people made calculations upon the existing prices, 
and all embarked in speculation. Such always are the calculations 
made by people under such a sudden change of aff'airs, even 
experienced merchants commenced speculating. But, sir, the 
system of internal improvements was broken up. Then came the 
reaction. Everything went down faster than it had come up. 
Pork to I5, labor to $7.50, and the whole people became in 
debt. Not because they had not the property, but because they 
had no money, and their produce would not bring what they had 
calculated it would. The banks are all broken up, and we now 
feel the consequences of the evils they worked. We find ourselves 
in debt to the amount of thirteen or fourteen millions! They had, 
also a demoralizing efi^ect upon the people. Many young men 
(indeed, all turned speculators,) threw off their jeans coats, became 
too proud to work upon their fathers' farms, and might be seen 
dressed in the finest style, looking like physicians or the greatest 



254 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

aristocrats. All upon credit! We come here to reform our State 
government; we are about to adopt measures to relieve the State 
of her debt — farmers are realizing fair prices for their products, the 
State, so far as individuals are concerned, is out of debt — though 
every thing heretofore has been tending to our ruin — and we are 
fast going out of difficulties into which that system had led us. 
If these things really are, if farmers are receiving the best prices, &c., 
where the necessity of banks? I hope the gentlemen will point 
us to the necessity for banks. They ought to do so, for they 
propose a system filled with horrors, and they should show the 
necessity for its adoption. It is too late in the day for gentlemen 
to say that banks are necessary to raise the value of our property. 
The demand always regulates the value of an article. 

What is the staple of Illinois? Pork, beef and flour. Are 
banks necessary for the sale and purchase of these? Are we not 
an agricultural State, and are banks necessary for us? No, sir. 
These products find a market elsewhere and not in this State. 
Banks cannot raise their price, people must come here from 
abroad to purchase those articles, and the price will always be 
regulated by the demand. Gentlemen say they are opposed to 
banks, yet will not vote for a prohibitory clause; and I must reply 
to what was said by the gentleman from Christian the other day 
when the vote was taken on this subject. He said, that he was 
opposed to banks, that they were a curse and an evil, that they 
were horrible to his feelings, but that he would vote against a 
prohibitory clause because it would endanger the adoption of the 
constitution. Does that gentleman think that the people are in 
favor of banks? Does he think that the majority of his party ,are 
in favor of them? I represent two counties — Bond and Mont- 
gomery — both counties, without distinction of party, are opposed 
to banks in any form. Gentlemen should remember that no 
petition for banks has been presented to the Convention, and no 
petition against a prohibitory clause. The whole difficulty was, 
that these fears had taken possession of the brains of these gentle- 
men — How do they act on other questions? It is asked, must 
we cut down the number of the Legislature? They answer "Oh, 
yes!" Must we reduce their pay? "By all means, yes." Must 
we reduce the pay of the judges, of the Governor, and regulate 



MONDAY y JUNE 28, 1847 255 

the duties of all other officers? They unhesitatingly answer, 
"Oh, yes.". But on this question of the banks, they cry out, "you 
should not bind up the hands of the people on that subject, but 
leave it for future time." They say, further, that though the 
people now may be opposed to banks, and we would vote against 
them, but perhaps the people may change their minds hereafter 
and want banks, and we should not close the matter by a prohibi- 
tory clause. Why, sir, the very same reason would allow all parts 
of the constitution to be left open to suit every change of opinion. 
The people of his county said that the Legislature already had 
too much power, and, among other reforms, desired it to be 
restricted. He understood that on the table was a proposition to 
adopt the New York banking law, which had been introduced 
because it was said that there was a majority against the prohibi- 
tory clause. Sir, if Illinois was composed of materials that would 
burn, I would rather see her destroyed by fire than such a system 
of plundering and robbing introduced in this our own prairie 
State. If a general banking system be spread over this State, we 
may look for ruin, blast, blight and mildew to come upon us. If 
we are to have banks, let us have no general laws throwing open 
the State and extending an invitation to shavers and brokers to 
come amongst us; if we do, we will have the scenes of Wisconsin 
over again, and we will have red dog, worse than red dog, banks 
amongst us. — He was not desirous to misrepresent or criminate 
gentlemen who, no doubt, represented the views of their constitu- 
ents as well as he, but we must judge of the future by the past. 
We are ripe for speculation, and he asked gentlemen not to throw 
out to the people these inducements to forsake their business and 
employments, to enter into this scheme of speculation, which 
would bring upon them nothing but blast and blight. 

Mr. GREGG said, that when he had introduced the proposition 
submitted by him and now on the table, he did so with reference 
to the peculiar state of circumstances existing at the time. From 
the vote taken a few days before, he thought it was the intention 
of the Convention that some system of banks should be adopted. 
I thought that if this was to be the result that we should close the 
door to a general and unrestricted system. I thought we had 
better leave the abstract question alone and judge things and act 



256 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

on them as we find them; that we should take into consideration 
how our resources, condition and facilities stood and leave theories 
out of the question. The people of my county are divided on this 
question, but I believe that a majority of them are opposed to 
banks and banking, because they believe they are prejudicial and 
injurious to the whole country and people. He, after weighing 
all these matters, had come to the conclusion that if we were to 
have banks we should so restrict them by our constitutional 
provision that they would be as little of prejudice and injury as 
possible; and that the floodgates should not be left open and all 
the evils flowing from an unrestricted system of banking to come 
upon us with all its evils and calamitous consequences. If there 
be any inconsistency in what had been done he saw it not in his 
position nor in the proposition he had introduced, but in those 
who, failing in a prohibition, will leave this matter to the Legis- 
lature. Was not his course more in accordance with their duty 
as men not legislating for the present time, but for the whole State, 
and for all future time? He thought we should study the banks 
in their consequences, and in such a manner as will allow us to 
deliberate understandingly, and with the best views to the advance- 
ment of the prosperity of the people. We are now without banks; 
we' have had an experience — and he might say an experience of 
ruin, misfortune and disaster — of them, and shall we bring that ruin 
and misfortune upon the people again? Do we need them? 
We are an agricultural State and not a commercial one. It was 
the intention of the framers of the constitution of the United 
States that there should be no currency but gold and silver. There 
had been issued during the revolution over 300 millions of paper 
money and it had been the currency during that time and much 
depreciated. Its evils were so apparent that they introduced 
into the constitution a regulation that the government should 
emit no bills of exchange. But means were soon found to evade 
this, and the country has been since flooded with this kind of a 
currency. How is it, he would ask, that our prosperity is peri- 
odical, and "good times" occasional? It was owing to the creation 
of these monopolies, who [sic] raised and depressed the trade and 
commerce, and the means of the people, by their schemes of specu- 
lation. We ought to be always prosperous, we have the means 



MONDAY, JUNE 28, 1847 257 

and resources within us, to have that prosperity continued, and it 
must be owing to these monopolies created by our Legislature, 
which conferred upon them privileges and rights which were not 
enjoyed by the people in common. He would prefer that all 
privileges and rights should be distributed that, like the dews of 
heaven, all might share alike. The benefits are not equally dis- 
tributed to all classes alike, but special privileges are granted to 
special persons to eat out the substance of the people. To these 
chartered monopolies we may trace all our misfortunes. Mr. G. 
then refer[r]ed to the banking operations in England, where he 
said there had been from 1793 to 1826, 381 failures in a brief 
period of 34 years, after which he proceeded to review the history 
of the banks, their failures, suspensions, and the losses caused by 
them to the people and Government of the United States. He said 
that from the time of the war to 18 19 — the paper currency was in 
a most wretched condition, that in 18 19, there came a general 
suspension; in 1825 the panic was universal. In 1837, the paper 
currency system had become inflated to its utmost capacity and 
the bubble burst, and ruin was universal; every man's fortune was 
afl^ected by it. Let us carry out an unrestricted system of banking, 
and panic and ruin will come upon us in all its unmitigated 
horrors and evil consequences. 

In 1839 banks again suspended, and similar consequences 
ensued — and thus from 18 17 to '39 there had been no less than 
eight general suspensions of this inflated paper currency. Have 
the people suffered nothing from a paper currency? Mr. G. read 
from the report of the Secretary of the Treasury of the United 
States, made in 1841, by which it appeared, that the loss sustained 
by the federal government up to February, 1841, by the employ- 
ment of banks and paper money was ^15,492,000! That since 
1789 there had been three hundred and ninety-six bank failures 
in the United States, with the following capital: Capital of 
twenty banks failed before 18 11, $3,000,000; between 181 1 and 
'30, one hundred and ninety-five banks with a capital of $36,787,- 
309; since 1830 upwards of 181 (including the Bank of the United 
States) with an estimated capital of $95,000,000. Making an 
aggregate amount of capital of these banks of $134,787,309. He 
also read the following as losses sustained by the people since 1789: 



258 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

By bank failures on capital, circulation, deposites, and bank 
balances, $108,855,721; by suspension of specie payments and 
depreciation of notes, $95,000,000; by destruction, war and acci- 
dents, $7,127,332; by counterfeit notes beyond losses by coin, 
$4,444,444; by fluctuation in bank currency, &c., $150,000,000; 
making an aggregate of $365,451,497; to which add the capital of 
the United States Bank of Pennsylvania, $35,000,000, and the 
total loss will be $400,451,497. Are not these, he asked, matters 
of a startling character, and which are undoubtedly a history of 
the evils of an unmitigated nature, bringing destruction and ruin 
upon the people. And any system which contains within it the 
principles of such ruin, and which may produce all these alarming 
consequences, should be well inquired into, and he thought they 
should hesitate long in adopting it. There were at present up- 
wards of nine hundred banks in the country. Their universal 
rule was to over-issue notes in a proportion of three dollars to one 
on their capital; and in this way they fabricate their own wealth, 
and who does not see that they thus have conferred upon them 
an inconceivable advantage, and that they can go into market 
with this increased capital and drive away all competition, and of 
necessity must monopolize all the business and trade of the country. 
Another thing in the system of banks, was that the capital is 
not usually paid in, a small proportion only is paid and the balance 
secured by the notes of the stockholders. For instance — the first 
United States Bank had a capital of $10,000,000, of which was 
paid in, one-half a million; the second Bank of the United States 
had a capital of $35,000,000, and only two million was paid in. 
Yet upon this small amount of capital actually paid into the bank, 
the discounts and dealings in exchange during one year and a 
little over, amounted to $43,000,000. And this, sir, is but a 
specimen of the transactions that are carried on under this system — 
styled banks and banking. In 1840 the total amount of bank 
capital in the United States was $360,000,000, and the total 
amount of specie collected in their vaults was $33,000,000. Their 
loans and discounts on notes amounted to $460,000,000. It was 
also their practice to make large loans to presidents and directors, 
without security, and in 1840, there was due by directors of the 
banks to the several banks the sum of $150,000,000, and one-third 



MONDAY, JUNE 28, 1847 259 

of this was due on loans. By a report of a committee appointed 
to examine the affairs of the United States Bank it appeared that 
there was due that bank by one Thomas Kidwell, a broker in 
Philadelphia, over $11,000,000, which had been loaned out to him 
for the purpose of shaving. At the same time that that bank was 
loaning out this great sum to that man, loans were refused to good 
men of that city and upon responsible paper; and they were obliged 
to go to this broker and pay him large discounts, thus forcing men 
to pay them indirectly by this shaving, what they could not charge 
directly, and this too, upon well secured paper. He thought it 
would be conceded by all that any system of banking was highly 
dangerous. Is there, he asked, in the whole system of government 
a greater power conferred than that of creating a currency? And 
if this power is to be exerted it should be in the hands of the govern- 
ment and not placed in the control of irresponsible corporations, 
institutions or associations. It is a power not to be conferred 
upon any body of incorporated individuals, no matter now respect- 
able they might be, or the standing they occupied in the world. 

It is destructive upon business, it creates uncertainty in trade, 
and makes the business of the country a mere lottery. It is also 
destructive of the morals of the community. In 1824 the banking 
issues in the U.S. was [j/V] 140,000,000; in 1837 they had increased to 
$140,000,000, and at this time was the great suspension. In 1843 
they had decreased to $53,000,000, and in 1846, they had gone up to 
$105,000,000, nearly doubling in the last three years. I shall use these 
facts, when more properly in order, to show the great uncertainty 
which these enlarged bank issues create. It had been admitted 
by the head of the U. S. Bank, a man who certainly had great 
experience in banking, and with all its business, that the tendency 
of all banks was to create an over issue of paper. And thus it 
gave them a great advantage over the rest of the community, while 
the over issue was thrown out into the market. When this occurs, 
it produces over-trading, and every man embarks in business and 
speculation — prices increase — the laborer receives higher prices, 
and so with all other business. The currency is inflated,fand 
business becomes inflated just as unnaturally^as is'^everything^else. 
Wherever this happens to be the case, then'!]the^importations_^in- 
crease and immense quantities of goods are brought into^the 



26o ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

country. After a while these goods are to be paid for, and the 
currency of this country — these bank notes, which they can have 
so plentifully, will not answer to pay for them, and the specie which 
is hoarded up in the banks must be drawn out, and goes abroad 
to pay for these very goods. Then commences the ruin. The 
banks deprived of their little specie, are cramped in their business 
and forced immediately to curtail. Then follows the distress and 
ruin, and panic. This, sir, is the consequence of over trading, 
which is always followed by a reverse, and then is destroyed the 
fanciedprosperity of men's speculations. Can it be attributed to 
anything else than the over issues by these chartered monopolies? 

In 1837 the indebtedness to the banks of the Union was 525 
millions, the specie in their vaults, and on which their issues were 
based, was 38,000,000. On this small sum of 38,000,000 was the 
great paper money bubble based, and which when exploded cast 
ruin, misfortune and destruction upon all classes of the community. 
When these banks are obliged to make these forced collections 
they generally so manage it as to become the purchasers of all the 
property, particularly of the real estate of their creditors, which 
gives them a power and influence which is highly dangerous to 
the people, and the State. 

What necessity have we for them? Why should we desire to 
obtain a currency or encourage institutions which have within 
their system the elements of so much ruin and destruction? 

It is said that there is not specie enough in the country, to buy 
our goods and enable us to carry on our trade. This is not the 
conclusion I have come to after an examination of the subject. 
Mr. G. here read an extract from some work, which treated of the 
subject, which stated that according to Mr. Gallatin's calcula- 
tion, made in 1831, there was in the world ^400,000,000 in specie, 
that of this sum there was over ^277,000,000 in Europe and 
U. States, and that if divided there would be $16 [for] every man, 
woman and child in the country. 

He here read an extract from 'Gouge on Banking' to sustain 
this position. He said that he thought this sufficient to prove 
that banks were not needed for the purpose of creating a currency, 
and that there was enough of specie to transact all business. 

The experience of other countries was not to be disregarded. 



MONDAY, JUNE 28, 1847 261 

and he would refer the gentleman to France, at the time of the 
revolution. They had a paper currency, which had sprung up 
during that time, more trifling and depreciated than was our own 
during the revolution. 

Assignats were issued all over the country in large and danger- 
ous quantities, and had become worthless and depreciated. 
Napoleon, when he became first consul, with intuitive sagacity 
and profound knowledge of such things, the moment he had the 
power, broke up the whole system of paper money and introduced 
a new order of things. He established a metallic currency. He 
said no paper for a less amount than five hundred francs should be 
issued; and gold and silver flowed in in abundance, and to this 
day they have a metallic currency. 

Such would be the case here were we not cursed with these 
banking institutions. Look at Cuba, she is not cursed with paper 
or bank issues, and has nothing but gold and silver. I may be 
met with the remark that these countries are not republican, that 
their forms of government and institutions are diflFerent from ours, 
Is this a proper answer? If the people of France live not under a 
system of government like ours, must we not follow them in any- 
thing? We must not look to them for examples of wisdom, 
moderation, science, or justice, because they live under a monarchy 
Nor must we look to Europe for such examples, nor refer to Cuba. 
No matter if the autocrat of northern Europe, or the sultan from 
his harem, gives us an example of wisdom, must we throw it away, 
reject it, put it behind our backs, because it comes not from the 
same kind of government! Sir, good examples and just principles 
belong to no nation or creed, or State, or form of government. I 
take leave, before I conclude, to refer briefly to the plan I have 
proposed, and which is now before the committee. It is divested 
so far as possible of the features of monopolies, and I have pre- 
sented it in this shape so that, if these banks or some system is to 
exist, and its blighting effects are to be cast upon the people, its 
rough and rugged features shall be thrown away. It is not the 
New York system of banking, as has been said — it goes beyond 
that system. Another safe-guard, I think, is, that it leaves the 
matter with the people; the action of the Legislature is not final, 
and after they shall have acted upon it it must go to the 



262 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

people, and there fiat must be passed upon it. Here we have a 
double safe-guard — the wisdom of the Legislature, and the action 
of the people, who may trample on foot any act of the Legis- 
lature. Again, if, after it shall be thus approved of by the people 
and the Legislature, it shall appear to be more productive of evil 
than was anticipated, it is placed in the power of any Legislature 
to repeal or abolish it. 

If any system is to go from this Convention to throw its blight- 
ing influence on the people, their business and their resources, let 
it go without throwing open these safeguards upon its actions. 
I think it would be better for the Convention to adopt a system 
of banking and a prohibitory clause — an alternate proposition, 
and submit them to the people; let them be discussed in the 
primary assemblages of the people, and I have no fear of the result; 
no fear of the adoption of the prohibitory clause by a large majority. 
But if we are to have any system, let me have choice of one which 
is the least calculated to work injury. 

Mr. LOUDON said, that he had listened with pleasure to [the] 
very good speech of the gentleman, and he, Mr. L., were he an 
anti-bank man, would now try and make an anti-bank speech, but 
as he was a bank man he would make a bank speech. Mr. L. 
spoke for some time, in reply to Mr. Gregg, and in support of a good 
banking system. His remarks are unavoidably crowded out. 

Mr. SCATES said, he did not expect to throw much light on 
the subject, but the question, it was not to be denied, was one of all 
absorbing interest, and one on which the two political parties were 
divided. Much as gentlemen might regret the introduction of 
party questions in a Convention assembled to frame a constitution, 
they must not expect to see parties forget their party principles. 
This was a question on which there could be no compromise. 
Those opposed to banks would not consent to any form of a bank 
that would be acceptable to the friends of a bank, and these bank 
men would not vote for a prohibition. 

If I attempt to give my views on the subject, gentlemen must 
not think me desirous to be too wise, when I say that in my opinion 
the people of Illinois have spoken solemnly, firmly and positively, 
that there shall be no banks in the State, and no compromise will 
be acceptable to them. I remember to have often read and heard 



MONDAY, JUNE 28, 1847 263 

of such a thing as a judicious tariff, and that it was soon found 
out that a judicious tariff means nothing definite, for every man 
undertook to define and judge what sort of a tariflF was a judicious 
one. It is something the same way with a "well regulated bank," 
here is the same difficulty — no two will agree what is a well regu- 
lated bank. Sir, there never was such a thing as a well regulated 
bank submitted to the people; nor can any man propose one. 
The gentleman from Cook, who says he is opposed to all banks, 
has submitted a plan of what he considers a well regulated bank. 
But are there no objections to it? I know one, sir, and an impor- 
tant one, which for fear I may forget it, I will repeat it at once. 
His plan will not prevent a suspension of specie payments; I ask 
him if it is not so? 

Mr. GREGG said, that there was an express provision that 
the Legislature should pass no law permitting a suspension of 
specie payments. 

Mr. SCATES. I understand it correctly. But does the law 
prevent the bank from suspending? and that currency becoming 
depreciated in the hands of the bill holders. There is no way to 
prevent the bank from suspending; no remedy for the loss to the 
bill holder. Will any gentleman propose that the loss to the bill 
holder shall be put into his pocket from the treasury of the State 
The winding up of a bank may be a punishment, but will it remedy 
the evil? The fact of suspension, is a fact that no written prohibi- 
tion can avoid, and no parchment prohibition can pay the loss on 
paper depreciated, perhaps, 50 cents in the dollar. Nor can we 
say that the bank, if it fails and its paper becomes depreciated, 
shall pay the bill holder, unless we give the bank the means to do 
so with. The gentleman's position is an enigma to me, and I'll 
not undertake to unriddle it. He has portrayed in the most vivid 
colors that the banks are evils, and has said that the people will 
sustain a prohibitory clause, yet he has come to the conclusion 
that we must have banks. This is truly an enigma to me. One 
objection to a prohibitory clause is, that it forever binds the 
people who may hereafter desire a bank. If we were to recognize 
the principle that we must act, in framing this constitution, with 
due regard to the changes of the popular mind, we had better go 
home at once, for that would defeat the ends of all constitution. — 



a64 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

The bill of rights says, that no man shall be dis[s]eized of his freehold ; 
no man shall be punished without a trial by his peers; no ex post 
facto law shall be passed; the people's mind may change on either 
or all of these principles, and why should we place them in our 
supreme law of the State? Who will advocate this? But gentle- 
men desire this loose action on the bank question, which will be 
as great a tyranny as any other. If I have any idea of the opinion 
of the people of Illinois upon this subject, if I have not definite 
information of their views, then say I have no information at all. 
They are opposed to banks. Sir, for the last several years the 
whole democratic press of the State — with perhaps one exception — 
spoke out openly their opposition to banks, and the politicians 
throughout the State have opposed the banks, and I have thought 
that the people have sustained them in their position. But I 
come here, and what do I find? The democratic party divided 
upon this subject, here with instructions to vote against a prohibi- 
tory clause, and the party are in a glorious minority. — We have been 
told that the democratic party have the majority in this State, in 
the Legislature and in the Convention, that they are responsible for 
everything that has been done and which this Convention shall do, 
because they have the strength and the numbers to rule. I admit 
that the democratic party had the majority and the power, but 
not at present and I cannot illustrate its position better than by 
relating an anecdote. It is said that there was one John Thompson 
who had been up to the market and had started on his way home. 
Unfortunately, however, John fell asleep, and the oxen pulled the 
cart into a mud hole; while it was there two yoke of the oxen broke 
from their cart, strayed away and are now looking with anxious 
eyes into the rich pasture of banks and banking privileges to 
which they and their friends are about to be admitted. John 
Thompson was unable to get his cart out because of the loss of his 
team, and gentlemen must not throw the responsibility on the 
democratic party. Our team has been stolen, and they must not 
expect us to pull the government cart out of the mud until we 
get back our team; and others after starting on this metallic 
road, their feet have become cut and a little tender and they too, 
have gone off and refuse to pull. 

The position of certain gentlemen reminded him also of another 



MONDAY, JUNE 28, 1847 265 

anecdote: Two gentlemen went out hunting, after some time one 
of them fired at a deer, his friend hearing the rifle shot, came up 
and asked him what he had shot at, he replied, "At a deer, there 
it is." "Why,"' said the friend, "that is a calf; have you shot your 
neighbor's calf?" "No," answered he. "I shot so that if it 
was a deer I would kill it, and if a calf I would miss it." So it was 
with those who were against a bank — if it was a bank, but for a 
calf &c. Let gentlemen aim so as to shoot but not to kill their 
neighbor's calf. And these gentlemen who were so anxious to 
preserve their neighbor's calf, to them he could wish no greater 
punishment than did Aaron and the other idolaters receive when 
they built their golden calf, from the hands of the Almighty. 

Mr. S. then said, the question was not whether the banks will 
suspend, it should be, can they? Yes, sir, they can, and may 
suspend, no constitutional provision can avoid it; the power is in 
banks to cause losses of millions to the community, and there is 
no way to prevent it but one — that is, not to allow them to be in- 
corporated. Another way in which these banks caused losses to 
the community was, that all bank paper, at any distance from the 
banks, was at a discount of 5 per cent., and the loss to the people 
upon the amount of the total issues of the bank was immense. A 
note is at 5 per cent, discount, it is passed at that depreciated 
value, one hundred times a year. Say the discount is at two 
per cent., the loss is, therefore, 200 per cent, on the face of the 
note, and all this loss is paid for the use of a paper currency. 
Mr. S. illustrated this view by several examples, and then examined 
many facts in relation to the management, frauds and evils result- 
ing from banks in general, and the bank of the United States in 
particular. In one single year, he said, the defalcation by presi- 
dents and directors of these banks amounted to forty-two millions 
of dollars and over; and if gentlemen were prepared to go for 
the adoption of such a system, which could produce such results, 
he doubted their statesmanship. Half that loss would pay. the 
whole expenses of the Mexican war, or support a war against a 
more powerful enemy; yet it was all borne without complaint. 
The loss to the government up to the year 1842, was $131,000,000, 
a sum equal to the expenses of the last war with Great Britain. 

Mr. SCATES, after alluding at great length to the fact of the 



266 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

losses by banks and banking speculations in the United States, 
which he read and exhibited by statistical references, differing but 
little from those mentioned by Mr. Gregg, and applying the alarm- 
ing consequences of them to the state of the people and the finances 
of Illinois, he most earnestly and forcibly deprecated the adoption 
of any system of the kind in the State, or the granting to the Legis- 
lature any power to create the same. 

He said, that he hoped, in case the Convention, watched by 
bank harpies and beset by sharks, shall spawn forth upon the 
public a shoal of banks, that it would be rejected by the people 
and the system be an abortion. If they were to have banks 
with chartered privileges, why not allow every man to be a bank, 
and grant him permission to issue $2> to every one of his capital? 
This would be nothing more than equal rights. But then, again, 
poor men have not the means to enter into this plan, which confers 
upon those who can engage in it, the power to make their less 
fortunate neighbors hewers of wood and drawers of water. 

Mr. S. then entered into an able argument to establish that by 
the constitution of the United States the States had no power to 
create banks, which, he said, indirectly governed, created, and 
ruled the currency — regulated, by their issues and over issues, the 
value of money — governed and controlled the commerce among 
the States of the Union, raising the value of our property by the 
extent of their issues, and depreciating it again by the contraction 
and lessening of them. He thought it dangerous to create these 
institutions, possessed of these great and powerful means of power 
over the interests of the people. 

He thought that they had just as much right to issue imitation 
half dollars and eagles in base metal as to issue paper imitations 
of the current coin of the country. 

At 12, M., without concluding, he gave way to a motion to 
adjourn till to-morrow, at 9, a. m. 



XIX. TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 1847 

Prayer by Rev. Mr. Dresser. 

Mr. HAYES, from the committee on Law Reform, reported 
back sundry resolutions, and asked to be discharged from the 
further consideration of the same. Agreed to. 

Mr. Z. CASEY moved to take up certain reports made by the 
committee on the Revenue and the committee on the Legislative 
Department, and refer the same to the committee of the whole. 
Carried. 

Mr. ARCHER moved to refer the report of the committee on 
the Organization of Departments to the committee of the whole. 
Carried. 

Mr. Z. CASEY then moved that the Convention resolve itself 
into committee of the whole to take up the subject of banks. 
Carried. 



The Convention then resolved itself into a committee of 
the whole, Mr. Edwards of Sangamon in the Chair. 

Mr. SCATES resumed his speech, commenced yesterday, by a 
recapitulation of the arguments presented by him. He said that 
the power of the States to create banks, with powers to emit bills 
of exchange, &c. was one that was sanctioned by general practice. 
Yet there were many questions arising out of constitutional pro- 
visions that had been settled by practice, but upon which the 
public mind was not settled. The power of the general govern- 
ment to charter a United States bank, though two had been 
created, and the supreme court had decided in favor of the power, 
was still a question upon which the public mind was not settled; 
and the same was the case in regard to the issues of State banks. 
He then examined the constitution of the United States, and 
argued against the power of the States to issue such notes, or the 
power to incorporate any institution to do the same. 

He said that we had the power to limit the circulation of 
267 



268 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

bank notes from other States in this State. It was an evil to have 
our own issues in circulation, it was certainly no less an evil to 
have the notes of banks, over which we had no control, circulating 
amongst us. We might not be able to compel a bank in another 
State to stop her issues; but should we, to stop their circulation, 
issue our own notes? This was like giving a man, suffering from 
the effects of poison, a larger dose of the same kind. He read 
some tables which showed that the people paid yearly for the use 
of bank paper, in the shape of interest, $28,000,000 more than the 
annual expenses of the government. There was also a deprecia- 
tion on the amount of their issue of 5 per cent., which, together 
with other losses by counterfeiting and wearing of notes, made an 
aggregate annual tax to the people of over $50,000,000; more 
than double the amount required for the support of this vast 
government. The loss to the people, since the formation of the 
government, by taxes for the use of bank paper, amounted to 
$1,197,000,000. 

His recollection of the politics of Illinois for many years had 
been, that the democratic party were opposed to all banks. Every 
democratic meeting that had been held sent forth a condemnation 
of them. There had been a meeting held in this hall some three 
years ago, and then this question came up. No man was for 
banks. It was made a sine qua non in each candidate, to be 
opposed to all banks. The democratic party now required from 
their representatives a condemnation of them. The people were 
not, however, truly represented here; if they were, there would 
go forth a universal condemnation of them, as he was sure the 
voice of the people was for a prohibition. He was in favor of no 
experiments to elicit the voice of the people, by proposing any 
alternate proposition. The sentiments of the people were known, 
and the Convention should carry them out. 

Mr. HARVEY said, that he, perhaps, should define his posi- 
tion. He looked upon this question as one of deep and lasting 
importance, and one which bears more upon the daily transactions 
of the people than any other which the Convention would be 
called to act upon. He thought that when the Convention would 
meet, the members would come there with their minds made up 
to act without political feeling, and with a desire to accomplish a 



TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 1847 269 

constitutional work for the people. But he had been sadly mis- 
taken. The gentleman said it must be a political question; that 
parties must be divided, and that we must congeal into the consti- 
tution the ultra spirit of party. The gentleman said that one 
John Thompson was like the democratic party, and that John 
had once got drunk and had been run into a mud hole; that while 
there a part of his team had got away and had gone off in search 
of green pastures. He would like to know why John Thompson 
got drunk, or if, when asleep, he dreamed of this metallic currency? 
And was it not wiser for the cattle, when John was in this 
condition, to get out of the mud hole, and go off to the green 
pasture? He would tell the gentleman, that if he wanted these 
cattle back to pull this democratic cart out of the mud he must 
not get drunk. He claimed to be a member of the democratic 
party, but he came there a free one, to act for himself and not to 
bow his neck as a slave to any leader. He was not one of John 
Thompson's cattle. He was a representative of the people of 
Knox county in this Convention to form a constitution. And, 
sir, what have we met here for? Not to take care of the interests 
of one little political party, but of one million of people- Asa 
member of the committee on Incorporations he was anxious to 
hear this question discussed, and for one he was opposed to a 
prohibitory clause. And the party who advocated this, were 
they united? No, sir. 

Mr. H. said, that one portion of this prohibitory party said 
that banks were an evil, and that all things of an evil character 
should be prohibited. By inserting in the constitution a prohibi- 
tion, and then adding a clause that that prohibition should be 
forever unalterable, how, he would ask, would any man vote for 
such a provision — John Thompson could not do it— if he did he 
would render himself immortal. Another of the party said, that 
he was for an exclusively metallic currency. Does he intend to 
exclude from circulation Auditor's warrants and Treasury notes, 
which looked to him very much like paper money? He would 
not say what he wanted — but he desired to know what kind of a 
prohibition that party wanted? He did not believe the demo- 
cratic party was in the hands of fifty or forty men in that Conven- 
tion, but were scattered all over the Union, and in no State had a 



270 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

prohibitory clause been inserted in the constitution against banks. 
He believed that the people of any State, by a majority of the 
votes, might have what kind of government they pleased, and 
that they alone had the right to say whether they would have 
banks or not. He was for leaving the question of banks open to the 
people's opinion, and he was met by a question, why not leave 
the whole question open. He replied by saying, that all things 
wrong in themselves should be prohibited, but a mere political 
question should be left open to the people. Public opinion was 
stronger than any constitution: a prohibition was no more than 
a rope of sand against it, and who could say that in five years the 
people's opinion would not be changed. Our duty was not to 
inquire what kind of a bank we should have, but whether we 
should have a bank at all or not. We have no banks to decapitate, 
but gentlemen seem disposed to decapitate a possibility of a bank. 
He would prefer the Legislature should not have the power to 
create, but was willing that when they thought a bank necessary 
that they should pass a law and submit it to the people, and if a 
majority of them approved of it, it might go into force. Individ- 
ually he was opposed to all systems of banking. They all seemed 
in favor of abridging the powers of the Legislature, and he was in 
favor of it; but was any man in favor of abridging the powers of 
the people? 

Mr. ARCHER desired to define his position on this question, 
and he hoped that when he had concluded, the Convention would 
be more happy in arriving at what his position was, than he had 
been in arriving at the position of the gentleman from Knox. He 
was not one of those who felt disposed to follow in everything that 
was laid down by those who set themselves up as umpires of what 
was true democracy; he was a member of the democratic party of 
the whole Union, and claimed to think and act for himself in all 
things; and bowed to no leader on this floor or any where else. He 
knew no one who aspired to that leadership, nor could he think 
or believe that any man, either whig or democrat, had come into 
that deliberative body with a desire to prescribe the course which 
they should follow. If any one did aspire, however, to lead the 
party, he would follow him only so far as his principles and opinions 
agreed with his, and no further. He was, individually, opposed 



TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 1847 271 

to all banks, of any shape, kind, manner or description; while he 
entertained these opinions, he had no desire to hold those opinions 
out as a beacon light to others, nor to give a guide to his seniors in 
their actions here. His experience had been that the system of 
banking was but the granting of privileges to a few to commit piracy 
on the masses. In using this language he intended to cast no 
imputation upon others, but he hoped they would consider him as 
sincere in what he said. 

He thought States were like individuals in many cases. Let 
us look back for a period of ten years in the history of this then 
young and thriving State, at that time a Legislature, driven to 
madness by the evidences of prosperity to be seen all around them, 
created an extensive and wild scheme of internal improvements, 
and the result was that the scheme failed and the hope of the 
young State was blasted and blighted. It was only after the 
destruction had come upon them that the people became 
alarmed — then that the State credit sunk abroad — and the unholy 
doctrine of repudiation received countenance in the State, and I 
regret to say that even, in this State, though for a short time only, 
did this doctrine receive encouragement. We have in part 
recovered the effects of that time, and have somewhat remedied 
the evil, and from this Convention, is expected something to 
remedy still further the evil consequences of that day. While I 
give my hearty approval of some of the remarks of the gentleman 
from Cook, I regret he did not plant himself entirely on the ground 
of prohibition. He had displayed by statistics the innumerable 
evils of these banks. I am in favor of a prohibitory clause, but I 
would prefer that it should be submitted to the people sep- 
erately {sic\ from the constitution in order that the latter may 
not be affected by the vote upon the proposition. Let those in 
favor of banks bring forward their plan, and those who desire the 
prohibition, let them go forth to the people and fight side by side, 
and by the result of that fight will I be satisfied. He was opposed 
to all banks and in favor of the utmost restrictions. How much 
time and money have been wasted in Illinois by legislating for 
suspension laws; and we cannot too strongly guard against failure, 
for I think failure is a consequence of incorporation. When these 
failures come, who is it that hold the notes — the poor and laboring 



272 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

classes of the community, and on them falls the loss. Who are 
they that watch the value of these notes from par to depreciation, 
and to worthlessness — the rich and the monied man. Do you 
find these notes in the hands of the brokers when at full value? 
No, but you may find them in their hands when depreciated, 
bought up at half price from the poor and laboring classes. Where 
do you find the losses ? In the cabins of the poor, and the profits 
in the gilded palaces of the rich. Banks never pay money, never 
issue money — it is always "the president &c. promise to pay" &c. 
And when they make loans it is of their own indebtedness. Thus 
when a man borrows ?500, they receive from him interest on what 
they owe; and if any person else than a corporation owes $500, he 
pays interest on what he owes. The whole order of things is 
reversed in favor of these chartered monopolies, and for this 
reason, I am opposed to them. 

Mr. A. here read a plan which he would like to see adopted. 
He said, that from a sense of right and of principle, sanctioned by 
experience, he could not yield to any opinion that a well regulated 
bank can exist in any community. He believed that if a general 
banking system were adopted, that evils in the most incompre- 
hensible numbers would follow, and throw ruin and misfortune 
again on the State. 

The motion to strike out all the resolutions was put and carried; 
and then the motion recurred upon inserting the proposition of 
Mr. ScATES. 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin said that it was a matter of regret 
that there was not before the committee some definite proposition 
which would be more comprehensive; also, it was to be regretted 
that feeling had been shown in relation to a leadership. There 
may be men who might aspire to leadership in this Convention, 
but if there were he had not seen any of them. He had come 
there to follow no leader, but an independent representative of an 
independent constituency; and was willing to take all the responsi- 
bility of his own acts. 

I agree that the questions growing out of this subject are the 
greatest that will come before the Convention. The evils of banks 
have been shown by the gentlemen from Montgomery, Cook, 
Jefferson and Pike. The system of banks heretofore existing in 



TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 1847 273 

this State is objectionable because the principles contained in it 
were at war with the just and equal rights of the whole people. 
The theory of all true government is, that the whole people should 
enjoy equal rights — political rights. The system of banks here- 
tofore, independent of all their other great evils, is objectionable, 
because it confers upon them rights and privileges, not possessed 
by the people in common. We have seen bankrupt corporations 
and rich corporatees. How is this, and how is it with others? When 
the bank fails, the members of the corporation are not affected; but 
when private individuals meet with misfortune, their doors are 
visited by the officers of the law. While ruin and destruction are 
scattered all over the country by the operations of the bank, its 
officers are revelling in the wealth gained by the banks. I object 
to banks because they enjoy rights, privileges and immunities not 
secured or allowed to others engaged in business. When an 
opportunity for speculation occurs, these banks are given the 
means of risking what is not their own, and if the speculation fails 
they lose nothing. The masses are opposed to these corporations, 
and are gradually wresting power from these chartered monopolies, 
and step by step will reduce them to a level with other business 
men. He objected to the New York system, because that con- 
ferred the same unequal privileges upon a few which were denied 
to the many. In the language of the resolutions offered by the 
gentleman from Jefferson, the power to coin and make money has 
been secured to the United States, and why? Because the power 
to create a currency affects the people, enters into all their business 
transactions — a power greater than even the right of government. 
Give me the purse strings of a nation, and I don't care who has 
the power of government; I then would be the master not only of 
the people, but of their government. In view, therefore, of the 
importance of this power — the sole power to regulate the currency 
was reserved to the general government. In time, however, this 
salutary provision was got around, and the power of regulating 
the currency was conferred upon individuals in the shape of 
charters, not responsible to the people. Was it the intention of 
the framers of the constitution of the United States to give to 
irresponsible men or soulless corporations the power to cause woe 
and sorrow, or smiles and joy to the whole people? At one period 



274 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

of our history the banks had a circulation of $ioo,ooo,c«do, and the 
transactions of the country were based upon that amount of false 
capital; in one year this amount of money in the country, by the 
aid of the engraver, printer and bank officer, can be increased 
three-fold, and the business of the country is deranged. — Is not 
the intention of the constitution to fix the value upon the currency 
defeated? Those reasons, if no other, would induce him to vote 
against any plan of banks. I belong to this party — the demo- 
cratic — which, it appears, has occupied so much time in this 
discussion. It has been said that there are those here who aspire 
to lead us. I would, sir, select as my leader, if we are to have any, 
from that other party which had shown so much judgment and 
discretion as to keep silent, and leave this war entirely in the 
hands of the "harmonious" democracy, and not from among those 
who claim to be democrats, and get up here and carry on a fight 
for the amusement of their opponents. — The term "harmonious 
democracy" may be and is often used as a sneer, but upon the 
great principle of human liberty they are harmonious; and I would 
say to those who anticipate the game of the Kilkenny cats by the 
democrats, that they need not lay the "flattering unction to their 
soul," for that party will remember their responsibility to their 
constituents. And if there is to be a bank, and if they cannot 
strangle the monster in his cradle, they will unite and chain him 
so that he can do no harm. If that party desired to know upon 
what the democrats will unite, I tell them to select what is just 
and right, and they will there find the democratic party. This 
much, sir, have I said on my own responsibility. 

Mr. GEDDES replied, briefly, to the remarks of the gentlemen 
who had opposed banks and attributed to them such evils. He 
entered into the question and argued differently. 

Mr. BOSBYSHELL said, that long previous to the adoption 
of the State constitution, the currency of the confederated States 
had been confided to the general government, which, also, was 
intrusted with the power of regulating commerce, foreign and 
domestic, coin money and fix the value thereof. The States by 
that constitution surrendered the power to coin money, emit bills 
of credit, or to change the legal tender in payment of debts. Sore 
from the evils of paper money which had been necessary during 



TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 1847 275 

the revolution, and the funding of which had caused so much 
discontent between the speculating and substantial citizens of 
the nation, any other standard of value than precious metals was 
deprecated by all the patriotic of the time, who endeavored to 
guard it by adequate provisions. There can be no other substi- 
tute, all attempts to substitute are delusive and fraudulent, and 
snares for the public prosperity. The effort to coin money out of 
paper was abused. Nothing can make a promise to pay on paper, 
like the dollar itself. Mr. B. (we are sorry we cannot give his 
remarks more full [sic\ took the following positions: 

That great commercial operations are accommodated by paper 
money issues, as did the credit system, but unless convertible into 
gold was worthless. Its use was like the substitution of ardent 
spirits for food — it intoxicates and ruins. That the reason given 
for the use of paper money — the scarcity of coin — should be the 
cause of an exclusive metallic currency, because the latter was 
more valuable as it become [sic] scarce. He alluded to the incon- 
veniences of paper money in trade. The shocking vicissitudes of 
unconvertible paper money had cost this country more than its 
wars; they were the greatest difficulty in the revolution, and now 
more oppressive than all the public burthens. That the issuing 
of paper money by authority of acts of the legislatures of the 
several States was an usurpation of power unfor[e]seen by the 
framers of the constitution. The first Secretary of the Treasury, 
when he introduced the conveniences of a national bank, never 
contemplated that paper should supersede gold and silver as 
currency. He traced the history of State banks, and admitted 
that the supreme court had decided that when they were not made 
a legal tender they were not unconstitutional; but that this great 
power to control, value and regulate price, unfor[e]seen by the 
framers of the federal constitution, has grown up one of our most 
important institutions and demanded the serious attention of a 
body convened to re-organize a government. This power to 
create a currency was so important that no government ever 
parted with its sole exercise. It controlled everything. It was 
the life blood of the body politic. It was fortunate that every 
laborer was familiar with the little value of these bank notes; 
which the regular recurrence of periodical convulsions so clearly 



276 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

demonstrated. If public sentiment advanced longer, as it has 
for some time past, the deeply rooted evils of banking will soon be 
alleviated, if not entirely removed. The farmers, mechanics and 
others who lived by industry, and without trusting to paper 
facilities, are now free from trouble, and have plenty of hard money. 
Interest is moderate. They knew not the distress which was felt 
where banks, credit and speculation predominated; and which 
would be the case where the power was given to a few to exercise 
one of the privileges of sovereignty. Fifty years ago the Bank of 
England disclosed the terrible secret that banks might dispense 
with hard money. Possessed of that secret our banks have 
followed it up by pushing it on to a despotic supremacy. Prepos- 
terous luxury, insolvency and crime are the certain followers of 
the bank mania. Bad currency, speculation and monopoly can 
only account for the sudden vicissitudes, the most devouring 
usury, controversey [sic] and litigation, panic, clamour, convul- 
sion, and at last the unlawful refusal of the banks to pay their own 
notes, have been the rapid events of a few years back. He denied 
the justice, right, propriety or honesty of conferring special 
privileges upon any body of men. The right and original office 
of a bank was to keep money, not to lend it; the principal profits of 
banks proceed from what courts of justice punish as frauds, viz: 
the using of trust funds. The Bank of Holland was crushed 
for this. 

We find that our space will not allow us to go further even with 
our condensed report of Mr. B.'s able and logical speech. 

Mr. SINGLETON offered an amendment to the proposition 
of Mr. ScATES. 

Mr. PETERS offered an amendment to the amendment. 

And then the committee rose, reported progress, and had leave 
to sit again. And the Convention adjourned till 3 P. m. 

AFTERNOON 

Mr. Z. CASEY oflFered a resolution, that from to-morrow the 
Convention would daily resolve into committee of the whole, and 
take up the reports of the committees and dispose of the same. 
Adopted. 



TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 1847 ^11 

The Convention then went into committee of the whole, and 
took up the subject of 



Mr. EDWARDS of Madison presented a long proposition 
to the committee, which he said had been drawn up with a view 
to meet the opinions of all those who were opposed to a prohibitory 
clause. He said, that he had intended to present his views in 
extensoy but it was evident, from the number of propositions that 
had been introduced, that the members of the Convention had 
come to some conclusion, and that all had made up their minds; 
debate and argument were, therefore, unnecessary. He explained 
his propositions to be as follows, ist. That there shall never be 
a State bank — he was opposed to State banks — State college, 
State printer. State anything. 2d. That there should be no 
special charters. This, he thought, was in accordance with the 
general sentiments of the people. 3d. It leaves it with the 
Legislature to establish a system of banking with certain restric- 
tions. He laid it down that, looking at the fast increasing popula- 
tion of the State, our growing interests, &c., we must have a 
paper currency, and cannot get along with an exclusive metallic 
currency. Another principle of his plan, was that there shall not 
be more than one bank placed in each judicial district of the State. 

Mr. KITCHELL said, he had drawn up certain resolutions 
containing a set of restrictions, which he could support consistently 
with his view of his duty to his constituents. 

It was nearly the same as had been presented by the member 
from Madison, and others. Though out of order to present it, it 
was not out of order to allude to it in his remarks. He supposed 
he was one of those whose position was said to be an enigma, and 
not consistent with democracy. He thought he knew the opinions 
of the people he represented, and he felt it his duty to support 
that opinion, unless it was wholly inconsistent with honesty and 
propriety. This question was not regarded in his county as 
settled; not one upon which public sentiment was regarded as ripe 
and mature. We have and use a paper currency; not so much 
specie as in other places, but the bank paper happened to be good 
and the people of that part of the country think and believe that 



278 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

a paper currency, when at a par, is a safe and proper medium of 
circulation. They cannot recognize any argument that it is 
immoral or improper to use it. They will refer you to those States 
where banks have existed from the time of the formation of their 
government, and ask why cannot Illinois have a good bank as well 
as others. One of the first political subjects to which he had 
turned his attention was the state of the people of Illinois, in 
regard to the consequences of the inflation of the currency and 
the ruin, havoc and disgrace which followed the suspension; and 
I thought that I would take the grbund occupied by other gentle- 
men, in open opposition to all banks, but I have considered better 
of it. What are our county organizations but exclusive privileges 
for certain purposes. Gentlemen who take the broad ground 
against all privileged corporations go too far. Our county organi- 
zation is but a part of the system. You cannot vote out of your 
own precinct. Every college is a corporation. The arguments 
of gentlemen have been directed against the abuses of banking. 
As well might they take ground against steamboats, that they 
should not be permitted to navigate your rivers because they 
contain such engines of destruction. As well prohibit physicians 
practising because quacks have dealt out death and destruction 
in the land. You may as well say there shall be no religion 
because, at some time or another, it has been united to State, and 
has oppressed the people. He thought this a fair statement of the 
arguments, and that it was not extravagant to compare their 
arguments against the abuses of banking with the steamboat 
dangers. He was opposed to the system of banking heretofore 
carried on in this State, but thought that we might adopt some 
system; it was impossible to exclude bank notes from circulation 
in this State. There are now laws upon the statute book of this 
State, which are as a dead letter. They cannot be enforced, and 
it would have been better that they had not been enacted than 
not in force. When it can be shown that it is a curse upon the 
State that we ever had bank notes, or that we can exclude them 
from circulation, then I will abandon the position I have taken, 
and go for their exclusion. It had been said that bank notes were 
an unfair representation of the amount of money in the country, 
that it was immoral and impolitic to use it as a currency. The 



TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 1847 279 

argument is that it is a paper currency, that the corporations are 
enjoying the privilege of issuing seven or eight dollars in notes to 
one in capital — in specie. These things are an abuse of the privi- 
lege, and are privileges which should not be granted. Heretofore 
it has been so provided that in case of a failure nothing but the 
corporate property could be touched, though it might be that the 
officers, directors, and stockholders were immensely rich, nothing 
of their private wealth was liable. But we came here to adopt a 
different order of things; we came here to lay down an organic law 
for the land, and questions of a doubtful character, of expediency 
and policy, and one which has been decided differently in every 
other State of the Union, should not be put in the constitution of 
the State and become the unalterable law of the land. He was 
not in favor of any particular system of banks, there might be 
banks required by the people. And suppose the people of Chicago, 
or of Quincy, or of Springfield desire a bank of deposite, of 
which no one could complain, the prohibitory clause would prevent 
it. He was opposed to any prohibitory clause in the constitution. 
Mr. K. here read his plan, which was a mere statement of restric- 
tions to be placed upon banks, and applicable to any and every 
system. He said he was not, as he had said before, in favor 
of any particular system, but he was satisfied that the people of 
his part of the country were opposed to any unqualified prohibitory 
clause being inserted in that constitution, and he felt himself 
bound to carry out their views and sentiments. While I am not in 
favor of any particular system of banking, I know that it is im- 
possible to exclude from circulation in this State the bank notes 
of New York, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and other States, so 
long as they are at par, and answer all purposes of business, and 
that all our efforts to do so will be in vain. He thanked the 
Convention for their attention and hoped he had defined his 
position sufficiently explicitly. 

Mr. BROCKMAN addressed the Convention for a consider- 
able time in favor of a prohibitory clause and against banks of 
every description. A full report of his speech has been taken and 
will be given in another form. 

Mr. DEMENT said, that as the day was nearly spent he 
would not take up much of the time of the Convention, but would 



28o ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

merely define his position in as few remarks as possible, and throw 
out a few of the suggestions which had occurred to his mind on 
the question now before them. He was aware that it was the 
belief of many there, that the question of banks was the all ab- 
sorbing question of the day, not only in the Convention, but 
amongst the people, in all sections of the State of Illinois. This 
would be the impression forced upon the mind of anyone who had 
heard the discussion on that floor, yet such was not the case 
among the people. This question of a bank was not considered 
by the people of his county before he came there — banks were 
considered by them to be an obsolete idea. It was said there by 
the whigs that the former State banks, which had brought upon 
them so much ruin and misfortune, had been created by the demo- 
crats, and they, the whigs, threw them off as no part of their 
policy; the democrats threw them off, and the whole people, with- 
out distinction of party, admitted them to be an obsolete idea. 
All were opposed to them where he came from, and the question 
was not alluded to in the canvass except, perhaps, to ask a candi- 
date if he was opposed to them, which he answered in the affirm- 
ative, and this was all that was said. But if a person were to hear 
the discussion here, he would think that the people were alive on 
this subject. It was but a few years ago that this question of 
banks was a party question, the democrats were opposed to all 
banks and the whig party was in favor of them, but as has been 
shown by the gentleman who has just taken his seat (Mr. Brock- 
man) the whigs have receded in this as in many other things, so 
much so that there is no whig in our part of the State who will 
pretend to favor them. And now it is said that it is no political 
question; but becomes with us one of mere expediency — except in 
regard to a bank with special privileges. The evils of banking he 
considered consist more in the embodiment, in one corporation of 
a few men, of peculiar and special privileges, and the cutting off 
all competition, in the way of trade and business, by men who are 
not possessed of those rights and privileges which give their char- 
tered opponents so great an advantage. The evil, therefore, is in 
the sespecial privileges which they have enjoyed, and the want of 
proper and necessary restrictions upon them. On this question 
of expediency, he would say that he was opposed to the creation of 



TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 1847 281 

any bank with power to issue any bill of credit, promissory note, 
or anything else intended as a currency; and he was opposed to 
any corporation issuing three or four dollars in paper to each one 
of their capital. He thought that Illinois did not need any banks 
to enrich her people or to raise the value of her property. He 
considered that the country was only enriched as we improve our 
resources by the increase of our products, or as we raise means of 
subsistence by labor. Nor did he think there was at present any 
surplus capital in Illinois to be vested in banks, and that if any 
banks were now to be created it would be embraced by men more 
anxious to borrow than by those who desire to invest their surplus 
capital. There is no excitement anywhere on this question of 
banks except in this Convention, and, so far as my information 
extends, it did not enter into the canvass. This was the case in 
the northern part of the State. A few years ago the people of the 
State were depressed and in debt, and all kinds of property was 
of little value. Now our property has become enhanced, and we 
are now in a state of comparative prosperity; these good results 
had been produced without banks. Every farmer, mechanic and 
artisan, and all others whose avocations tended to contribute to 
the wealth of the country, have together produced this prosperity. 
But there were those in the community who had been laying on 
their oars watching' for their opportunity, now come forth, and 
taking advantage of that ambition, which prosperity always 
creates in the bosom of men, are desirous to have banks, and a 
fictitious currency wherewith to run into wild and extravagant 
schemes of speculation, and in due course of time will possess 
themselves of all the property of the country, and in due course of 
time their bubble will burst, and in the scramble will take care to 
enrich themselves on the loss and substance of others. The 
people of Illinois do not want these banks. It is true they exist 
in New York and other States, but he believed that if the people 
of that State were like us, once rid of them, they would never 
have them again; but such is the influence on the trade and busi- 
ness of the community, and the power they are enabled to exercise 
over the people themselves, by means of their privileges, that 
once fastened upon a community it is impossible to get rid of them. 
Illinois is now without them, and I believe that gold and silver. 



282 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

like water, will always find its level, but paper money will always 
drive gold and silver from the market. One part of the State has 
now an exclusive metallic currency of gold and silver; this is in 
the northern part of the State, in the mining region. There was 
at one time nothing but paper circulated there, and so great was 
the confidence of the people that a note was never examined but 
taken without hesitation. After a while the banks burst, and 
these people felt the loss more severely than others who had less 
of that kind of currency. They then declared and resolved for 
the future to have nothing but gold and silver. 

There English sovereigns constituted nearly the whole currency, 
because they were worth more there than anywhere else; they 
passed current in that region for ^4.90, while at the east the[y] 
were taken for only I4.83, and at St. Louis for I4.85; the 
difference, therefore, between the ^4.90 and ^4.83 paid well 
for the exchange between that quarter and the eastern cities. 
The difference in the value was far greater than the cost of trans- 
portation. Gold and silver must find its level, and though in 
other States they may have banks and paper money. State lines 
are no barriers to the exportation of the precious metals, which 
will naturally flow where it is worth most. Our produce will go 
eastward, and their gold must flow back to us, and one will be 
the exchange for the other. Suppose we send three millions of 
dollars worth of our produce — beef, corn, flour, pork, lead — to the 
east, it is not necessary that that amount in specie shall be returned 
at once, because as our producers have the coin, which is paid by 
them to the merchants, and those merchants trade for their goods 
at the east. What is more easy and simple for the manufacturers 
or purchasers of our produce there to pay for it in drafts upon our 
own merchants, and thus the money is again paid out to the farmer 
and the miner in metallic currency; and all this can be done without 
banks. Where is the necessity for them in our State? 

I oppose the proposition of the gentleman from Madison, even 
if we are to have banks. One objection is, that it does not provide 
that the directors and stockholders of the banks shall be personally 
liable for the debts of the institution. Here is no remedy against 
men setting apart a certain amount of their money to bank upon, 
and when that is lost, with thousands belonging to others, sitting 



TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 1847 283 

down with a private fortune exempt from all liability, and which 
may have been the accumulated result of accommodation in the 
shape of loans to him by the bank. I also object to it because it 
does not provide that any bill which may pass the Legislature, 
creating a bank, shall be submitted to the people. In conclusion, 
I will say to those fifty-eight who voted for the prohibitory clause 
that we want but twenty-three more to make a majority; and I 
say that, in case of a failure to carry that, I believe there are those 
here who are opposed to banks yet opposed to a prohibitory 
clause, and who come nearer us than others, and with whom the 
fifty-eight may vote; that there is a probability that they may 
unite with us on some plan which will, in effect, accomplish the 
ends of a prohibitory clause. If I can't get a total prohibition, I 
hope to see something adopted that will approach it as near as 
possible. I had no expectation that what I have said will have 
any effect upon members here. I anticipate no such results from 
my speaking, but I have thrown out these suggestions to those in 
the Convention who approach nearer the doctrine of the fifty- 
eight in principle, and who, I believe, may unite with us upon 
something. 

Mr. GREEN of Tazewell addressed the Convention in 
deprecation of the introduction of party topics, and in defence of 
the whig party. 

The Convention then adjourned till to-morrow at 9 a. m. 



XX. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30, 1847 

Mr. BUNSEN offered a resolution of inquiry. Referred to 
the committee on Education. 

Mr. SIMPSON, from the committee on Counties, made a 
report; which, after some explanations, was withdrawn. 

Mr. WILLIAMS presented a resolution of inquiry. Referred 
to the committee on Counties. 

Mr. SINGLETON offered an amendment; and after a short 
debate, the amendment was laid on the table and the resolution 
adopted. 

Mr. Z. CASEY moved that the committee of the whole be 
discharged from the further consideration of the bank question — 
and a reference of the whole subject to the committee on Incorpora- 
tions; as it was evident that after that committee shall report the 
whole subject will be again discussed. Carried. 

Messrs. Kitchell and Archer presented propositions in 
relation to banks; which were referred to the committee on 
Incorporations. 

Mr. Z. CASEY moved the Convention go into committee of 
the whole and take up reports of committees as per order adopted 
yesterday. Carried. 

The Convention then went into committee of the whole, 
Mr. Woodson in the chair. 

Mr. CASEY said, that he wished to suggest that the chairman of 
the committee on the Legislative Department and the chairman 
of the committee on the Executive Department were both absent 
from the city; but they had requested that the reports may not be 
postponed on account of their absence. He moved the report of 
the committee on the Legislative Department be taken up. 
Carried. 

The committee then proceeded to consider the report of the 
proposed articles of the constitution contained in that report: 
The first section was read — 

"That the General Assembly of this State shall consist of a 
284 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30, 1847 285 

Senate and House of Representatives; both to be elected by the 
people." 

Mr. CALDWELL moved to strike out the words "Senate and" 
and "both;" which motion was lost. 

Second section. "That the members of the General Assembly 
shall be elected once in every two years, &c." 

Mr. SHUMWAY moved to strike out "two" and insert 
"three." 

Mr. ROUNTREE moved to insert "four." 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery advocated the adoption of the 
last number. He said the opinion of the people of the counties 
he represented — Bond and Montgomery — had been fully expressed 
upon this subject. They were satisfied that we had been cursed 
by too much legislation. He thought that one session every four 
years, with power to the Governor to call them together when 
any emergency arose, was sufficient for all the legislation the 
people required. The people there, and even the members of the 
Legislature, would be able to know what laws were passed by one 
Legislature before the next met; which is not the case at the present. 

Mr. DALE begged leave to differ from his friend of Mont- 
gomery, as to the views of the people of Bond county. True, as 
the gentleman said, the people of his county do complain of there 
being too much legislation and wish a remedy against over-legis- 
lation. But not the remedy of electing members for four years, as 
proposed by the gentleman. 

They complain of over-legislation and the expenses attending 
it. The remedy for this, and it is the one which they wish, is 
fully furnished in the report of this committee. This report 
limits the time of holding sessions, so that, instead of ninety days, 
as heretofore, the Legislature will be able, in future, to remain in 
session but little over forty-two days, and too, at a pay so small 
as to remedy all the objections that the people of his county have 
against over-legislation and its heavy expenses. 

This reduced pay and the short time allowed for legislation 
will induce the Legislature to enter immediately upon the business 
of legislation, and to legislate only on matters called for and 
necessary to be legislated on. And this is the reform which the 
people of his county desired. 



286 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. GEDDES was in favor of the four years. — He thought 
that we had had too much legislation, and that it would have 
been much better for Illinois if there had been no Legislature for 
the last twelve years. 

Mr. HAYES said, that it might be assumed, from the remarks 
of gentlemen, that Legislatures had become nuisances, which, 
though not the term used, was no stronger than some that were 
uttered by gentlemen. He admitted that there had been bad 
legislation, but was there not bad legislation in every State? If 
they so much feared bad legislation, would it not be as well to 
abolish the Legislature altogether? The gentleman had said that 
it would have been better had there been no Legislature for the 
last twelve years. Perhaps we might have avoided some of the 
evils of bad legislation, but would it not have been depriving the 
people of their share in the government? If he had understood 
anything of the nature of government, the whole conservative 
power of the people was in the Legislature — there they were heard, 
there they spoke in the administration of the government. They ■ 
had a latent power in themselves to overturn the government, and 
establish law and order where law and order did not exist before. 
But the only legal power the people had was vested in the Legis- 
lature. Much had been said about bad legislation, and that it 
had been conducted by men who acted not to promote the purposes 
of the people, but rather to advance their own. Here we have a 
large State with a large annual revenue coming into the hands of 
your Auditor and Treasurer, and unless we have a Legislature, the 
Governor will have millions under his control; and there is no 
power to direct the disposition of it. 

He denied the benefits of a long interval between the sessions 
of the Legislature. It was not tobe expected that our public serv- 
ants will always be pure. That was a presumption in favor of 
human character. But if they had had bad legislators, we may 
have a corrupt executive, and the government exercised with 
tyranny. Many people in th[e] State thought two years too 
long. He thought the Convention, in carrying out reform, 
might go too far, and might defeat their action by attempting to 
do too much. 

Mr. KNAPP of Scott inquired whether the long interval of 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30, 1847 287 

four years might not affect the election of United States Senators. 

Mr. SHUMWAY said, the difficulty of the accumulation of 
the revenue was easily answered by saying, the Legislature can 
as well distribute at its session the revenue for four years as it 
could do for two. 

Mr. LOGAN endorsed the views of the gentleman from White 
(Mr. Hayes.) Though no democrat, he would oppose, as our 
government was mixed, the executive, judiciary, and legislative 
or democratic departments, the abridging of the democratic part. 
The Auditor of Public Accounts and the Treasurer, who had large 
sums coming into their hands, are not responsible to any but the 
Legislature. Again, in case the Governor becomes corrupt, what 
good was the power he possessed to call the Legislature together? 
He would not call them to revise his acts, and we would have but 
one session of the Legislature during the term of the Governor. 
He opposed it further, because it was putting it out of the power 
of the people to be heard more than once in four years, while the 
other parts of the government went on administering it. 

Mr. BOND was in favor of striking out, and inserting four 
years. He differed from the gentlemen from Sangamon and 
White, because when this Convention had done with clipping the 
powers of our executive, his duty will be but little more than to 
see the laws executed. The Governor, even at the present, has 
no power to draw money from the treasury, except when author- 
ized by the Legislature. The only difficulty was the election of 
United States Senators, and he supposed they would have to 
elect them four years before. 

Mr. LOGAN. They may die or resign. 

Mr. BOND. They but seldom die and never resign. 

Mr. MINSHALL advocated a shorter term of interval, 
because he thought the representative should be responsible to 
the people at short periods. If we adopt the term of four years, 
each man elected a Senator would hold the office for eight years. 

Mr. Palmer of Macoupin and Mr. Davis of Montgomery 
continued the debate, the former in opposition to, and the latter 
in favor of, the amendment. 

On motion the committee rose and asked leave to sit again; 
which was granted. 



288 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. SCATES presented an invitation from the Sabbath Day 
Convention, to the Convention to attend its sittings. 

The PRESIDENT laid before the Convention an invitation 
from the citizens of Springfield to attend the barbacue to be given 
to the volunteers returned from Mexico, on Saturday, July 3d. 

On motion, both invitations were extended. 

On motion, Messrs. Eccles, Edmonson, Constable and 
Archer were excused for ten days. 

Mr. Edmonson was excused from longer serving on the com- 
mittee on Incorporations. 

And then, on motion, the Convention adjourned till to-morrow 
at 9 A. M. 



XXI. THURSDAY, JULY i, 1847 

Prayer by Rev. Mr. Barger. 

Mr. HOES presented a petition from a number of citizens of 
Livingston county in favor of a superintendant [sic] of common 
schools. Referred to the committee on Education. 

Mr. MANLY moved to take up certain petitions, presented 
by him some weeks ago, and refer them to the committee on Law 
Reform. Carried. 

Mr. WHITESIDE, from the committee on Military Affairs, 
to which had been referred the 5th article of the constitution, 
reported the same back, with a recommendation that it be adopted 
without amendment. The report and the article were referred 
to the committee of the whole. 

Mr. THOMAS, from the committee on the Revenue, reported 
back a resolution recommending the appropriation of the taxes 
of the i6th section in each township to school purposes, and asked 
to be discharged from its further consideration. Report concurred 
in. 

Mr. HAYES, from the committee on Law Reform, reported 
back a resolution in relation to excusing certain persons having 
conscientious scruples, from serving on juries, &c., and asked to 
be discharged from the further consideration of the same. Con- 
curred in. 

Mr. KITCHELL asked leave of absence for seven days for 
Dr. TuTT. Granted. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess gave notice that on next 
Monday week he would introduce the following propositions: 

Resolved, That the committee on Incorporations be instructed 
to report the following propositions, to be submitted to the people 
separately, viz: 

First. There shall be no bank or banks, nor any branch of 

any bank or banks, of any description whatever established in 

this State, for the term of ten years. If a majority of all the votes 

cast by the qualified electors of this State, shall be in favor of such 

289 



290 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

clause being inserted in the constitution, it shall then be made 
the duty of the Legislature, at the expiration of said term of ten 
years, to submit the same question to the people, to be voted on 
in the same manner; and it shall be the further duty of the Legis- 
lature to submit the same question every ten years thereafter, 
unless said proposition shall be rejected, then and in that case said 
clause shall be stricken from the constitution. 

Second. If a majority of the qualified electors of the State 
shall decide against the foregoing proposition being made a part 
of the constitution, then it shall be made the duty of the Legis- 
lature, if at any time it shall be deemed necessary, to create by 
law any bank or banks, or to establish within the limits of this 
State any branches of any bank or banks of any other States, to 
submit any and every such law, so creating or establishing any 
such banks or branches, to the people for their approval, at least 
one year previous to the time fixed for voting on the same; and in 
case said law shall receive a majority of all the votes given at said 
election, then it shall be in full force and operation, otherwise to 
be of no force or effect whatever. 

Mr. KNOWLTON offered a resolution directing an inquiry 
by the committee on Education. Carried. 

Mr. HAWLEY offered a resolution, that a special committee 
be appointed to report some provision for the amelioration of 
lunatic, deaf, dumb and blind persons. 

Mr. HARDING moved to add the word "black;" which 
amendment was laid on the table. 

Mr. SCATES moved to add "insane." 

Mr. HARDING suggested that, as the Convention were 
determined to do nothing for the negroes, he thought it had better 
insert the word "white" before lunatics, &c., for if left as it now 
was it would be applicable to all colors. 

Mr. SCATES replied that, in cases of humanity he knew no 
difference in color. 

Mr. ADAMS moved to lay the whole subject on the table. 
Carried. 

Mr. WEAD offered a resolution, that the committee on 
Miscellaneous^Subjects be directed to inquire into the expediency 



THURSDAY, JULY i, 1847 291 

of providing for fixing the seat of government of the State at 
Peoria. Laid on the table. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery offered a resolution that the 
committee on Incorporations be instructed to report a clause 
prohibiting a State Bank. Carried. 

Mr. HOGUE moved to go into committee of the whole. 
Decided in the affirmative. 

And the Convention resolved itself into committee of the 
whole, Mr. Woodson in the chair, and took up the report of the 
committee on the Legislative Department. 

The question pending was on striking out "two" and inserting 
"four" in the second line, and the vote being taken the committee 
refused to strike out. 

Mr. ARMSTRONG moved to amend the same section by 
striking out the words "first Monday in October" (the day 
provided for the election of members of the Legislature) and insert 
"first Monday in November." 

Mr. HENDERSON moved to insert the "Tuesday after the 
first Monday in November." 

The vote being taken, the word October was stricken out. 

Mr. WHITESIDE moved to fill with "first Monday in August." 

Mr. SINGLETON moved to fill the blank with "3d Monday 
in August." 

A conversational debate ensued, in which Messrs. Whitney, 
Davis of Montgomery, Campbell of Jo Daviess, Henderson, 
Knox, Harvey, Churchill, Scates, Geddes, Logan, Peters, 
Anderson, Whiteside, Knowlton and Atherton participated- 
And the question being taken on inserting the "first Monday in 
November," it was decided in the affirmative — yeas 86, nays not 
counted. 

Mr. ROUNTREE moved to add "and continue for ten days" 
after the word eight in 2d line, and at the end of the section, to 
provide that the elections shall continue for two days." 

He said that if all our elections, for General Assembly, 
Presidential elections, and county officers, are to be held on one 
day, and by the viva voce system, it would be impossible to get 
through in one day. If we, however, adopt the ballot system, his 



292 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

proposition would be unnecessary. The question was taken on 
the amendment and decided in the negative. 

Mr. SHARPE moved to strike out "eight" and insert "nine" 
in 2d line — that the first elections shall be in 1849. Lost. 

Mr. ROBBINS moved to insert in 4th line — "and for such 
length of time," so as to have the elections continue for a time to 
be fixed by law. Lost. 

QUALIFICATIONS OF REPRESENTATIVES 

The next section was then read and 

Mr. MARSHALL moved to strike out "inhabitant of this 
State," as unnecessary. Lost. 

Mr. CAMPBELL moved to strike out "five" after "twenty" 
in first line, and insert "one" (in the age of the Representatives,) 
which motion was lost. 

Mr. SINGLETON moved to insert after the word resided— 
"five years in the State and" so that no person should be a member 
unless a resident of the State five years and of the county one year. 
Lost. 

QUALIFICATIONS OF SENATORS 

Mr. DAWSON moved to strike out "thirty" before "years" 
in the first line (the proposed longest age for Senators,) and insert 
"forty." 

Mr. WHITNEY opposed any such amendment; and the 
question was taken on the motion and it was lost. 

Mr. SHUMWAY moved to insert "and an inhabitant of this 
State," after the words "shall be a citizen of the United States." 
Carried. 

Mr. SINGLETON moved to insert after the words "shall 
have resided" the words "five years in this State." Carried — yeas 
70, nays 56. 

Mr. HAY moved to amend so as the age should be 36 years 
instead of 30. Yeas 52, nays not counted. Lost. 

Sec. 5. ALLOTMENTS OF SENATORS 

This section was passed without any amendment. 



THURSDAY, JULY i, 1847 293 

Sec. 6. number of senators 'and representatives 

The section reads — "The Senate shall consist of twenty-five 
members, and the House of Representatives shall consist of 
seventy-five members, never to be increased or diminished, to be 
apportioned among the several counties as herein provided for; 
and until there shall be a new apportionment of Senators and 
Representatives, the State shall be divided into senatorial and 
representative districts, and the Senators and Representatives 
shall be apportioned as follows:" 

Mr. HARVEY moved to insert after the word "diminished," 
"until the Legislature shall deem it necessary." Lost. 

Mr. HOGUE moved to strike out "five" after "seventy." 
Yeas 40. Lost. 

Mr. HOGUE moved to strike out "five" after "twenty." 
Lost. 

Mr. HARDING moved to strike out "seventy-five members, 
never to be increased nor diminished" and insert "one member 
from each county in the State at the time of the election." 



[Mr. HARDING said, that the committee having decided that 
the legislature should consist of two branches, and that it should 
convene once in two years, it was necessary in fixing the number 
of which that legislature should be comprised, to have some refer- 
ence to the decision of the committee in regard to those points to 
which he had alluded. — Had the committee determined to strike 
out from the first section "the Senate," as proposed by the gentle- 
man from Gallatin, then it was probable, that the committee 
would also be prepared to strike out the number seventy-five, and 
insert a much larger number; but it was determined by a vote of 
the committee, without debate, that there should be a Senate as 
well as a House of Representatives in the legislative department 
of the government, and although he had voted against the propo- 
sition of the gentleman to strike out the Senate, from the alarm 
which he felt at this attempt at innovation upon the mode of 
organization adopted in other governments, more than from con- 
clusions founded upon considerations of necessity and principle; 
yet why, he would ask, should we retain the form of a republican 



294 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

government, unless we might have the substance and excellence 
which ought to appertain to such a government? Why incur the 
many inconveniences, and the expenses necessarily incident to 
such a form of government, unless the benefits which ought to be 
derived therefrom could be secured. If the members of the two 
branches of the legislature were to possess like qualifications, to be 
vested with like powers on all subjects of legislation, to be elected 
upon precisely the same basis of population, by the same electors, 
in the same manner, and for the same term, why should they be 
divided into two branches? It was not enough to be told that 
one branch was intended to be a check upon the other, unless by 
their different characters and constituency this desirable result 
was to be secured. 

Despotism, continued Mr. Harding, acts upon and oppresses 
mankind in different forms; sometimes in a military garb, but 
more frequently in an executive power, and I think that reason 
and experience demonstrate that it may, and that it has often 
assumed a legislative shape. An unchecked and unrestrained 
legislature, concurring as they generally do in our times, with the 
executive, because of like constituency, and like party character, 
must prove dangerous to liberty, and for want of being properly 
balanced, render the government unstable. I admit, Sfr, that by 
the division of the legislative department into two branches, those 
branches may have a tendency to check the action of each other; 
but. Sir, that tendency is as chaff before the wind, when they are 
all elected upon the same basis of representation, and two of them 
according to the same apportionment. All are the offspring of 
the throes and labors of party strife and passion. This legislature 
is to be clothed with all the sovereign powers of the State, governed 
only by the restrictions of this constitution. What interest, sir, 
important though it may be, unless it can wield many votes, is 
safe in a government of this character? Private right and cor- 
porate right may be safe so long as shielded by an enlightened and 
independent judiciary. But, sir, how long can we hope that the 
judiciary under the proposed mode of its creation, shall withstand 
the sway of unscrupulous and eager party. The constitution 
itself. Sir, before the united flood of these streams may be over- 
whelmed. May not some of the able statesmen of this conven- 



THURSDAY, JULY i, 1847 295 

tion bring forward and insert in this place, or in some other portion 
of this article, a provision which will in practice, to a greater ex- 
tent than this section proposes, give a House and a Senate dissim- 
ilar in character? I do not desire to make any such distinctions 
as we find in the British Parliament; but, sir, I do believe that we 
ought at least to imitate the mode of apportionment which pre- 
vails in regard to the two branches of Congress. The conserva- 
tive principle is not always in the possession of the kw, either 
among the people or in legislatures. The most radical, unsteady, 
unscrupulous and violent are often in the minority; and, Sir, when 
they come to possess a majority, then if unchecked by a proper 
organization of the departments of government, the rights, the 
property and the persons of those who are obnoxious to them 
must yield to the irresistible force of the torrent. 

When this subject was before the Convention in the form of 
resolutions of instruction to the committee on the Legislative De- 
partment, I opposed this number by my vote. I proposed that 
the number of members in the house should correspond with the 
number of counties; and that each county should elect a represent- 
ative, and that they should be paid out of the treasury of their 
respective counties. This, sir, although it would save more 
money to the State treasury than any other plan, was voted down; 
it was defeated through the superior address and ability of the 
gentleman from White. 

But, sir, there is another consideration, and I much regret my 
inability to do more than refer to it. Could I enforce it with the 
arguments with which it is fraught, then, sir, I should hope to see 
this mode adopted; and there is no doubt that it would aid much 
in preserving the faith and stability of the government of this 
State, and it is this: — The tillers of the soil, under such an appor- 
tionment, would control in a great degree one branch of the legis- 
lature. The men who bear the burthen of taxation, upon whose 
broad acres rest the debts and expenses of the State, must feel the 
necessity, if they would be relieved of this incubus of debt, of 
checking extravagant legislation, of adopting a system of strict 
economy in regard to all the expenses of the government. A 
representation by counties in one branch of the legislature, would 
be by no means so unequal, in respect to this interest, as gentle- 



296 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

men may at first suppose. It would tend to produce stability, 
because, sir, a large portion of these counties, although small in 
population compared with those in which are situated places of 
depot and entrepot, where the bands of the loom and the spindle 
congregate, are settled by the farmer and mechanic, whose steady 
habits and principles would not be so readily overwhelmed by the 
unsettled, speculative and often unprincipled population along 
the public works and in your large cities. Is it too much to ask, 
sir, that this vital, and in Illinois, most important interest should 
in this slight degree be favored? Sir, had this unassuming, un- 
obtrusive, virtuous and patriotic portion of the population — this 
bone and sinew of the State — been more frequently consulted, had 
it been allowed to exert greater influence, and the busy-bodies of 
towns and cities less, well would it be now and hereafter for this State. 

Gentlemen have often on this floor declared what were the 
complaints and wishes of the people. Sir, have not all the mem- 
bers of this Convention repeatedly heard the voice of the people, 
justly lamenting that the country was too much influenced by 
party, and do we not know that unchecked, unrestrained, faulty 
action has hurried the country into numerous acts of legislation 
which are deeply to be regretted? The representation in one 
branch, by counties, will check the headlong course of party. 
For, sir, although there may be a party governor, and a 
party majority in the Senate, yet it requires a majority 
of counties to give free scope to party bias on the part of 
the other two branches. Would you have the representative 
faithful to his trust? Then pay him out of the treasury of the 
county which he represents. Does he linger too long at the Capi- 
tol? The accounts at the county treasury will show his delin- 
quency, and thus another tie is established between the member 
and his constituency. Another advantage which will arise from 
allowing each county to elect a member is, that it will save much 
clamor and much expense in making apportionments hereafter. 
Make this the basis of representation, and we shall hear no more 
complaints of apportionments being made with reference to party 
interests and party objects. This will give us a stable govern- 
ment.]2' 

"This speech by Harding is taken from the Sangamo Journal, July 8. 



THURSDAY, JULY i, 1847 297 

After some words in favor of the amendment by Messrs. 
Harding and McCallen, and by Messrs. Scates and Davis in 
opposition; the committee rose, reported, had leave to sit again, 
and the Convention adjourned till 3 p. m. 

afternoon 

Mr. Z. CASEY moved the Convention resolve itself into 
committee of the whole. Carried. 

The question pending when the committee rose was on the 
amendment of the member from Warren; and being taken, was 
decided in the negative. 

Mr. HARVEY moved to insert "by the Legislature" before 
the words "the State shall be" &c. Lost. 

Mr. CHURCH moved to insert after "diminished," the words 
"until after the year i860." 

Mr. KINNEY of Bureau offered as a substitute for the 
amendment "until after the year i860, or till the payment of the 
interest on the State debt shall be secured, and the Senate shall 
never exceed 33 members nor the House 100 members." 

Messrs. Kinney and Mason supported, briefly, the substitute, 
which on a division was lost. 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin offered as a substitute "until the 
population of the State shall amount to one million of souls, and 
the House shall never exceed one hundred members." Yeas 76, 
nays 54. 

Mr. SERVANT moved to amend the substitute as adopted, 
by striking out "one million" and inserting "two millions." 
Yeas 63, nays 58. 

Mr. THOMAS moved to add to the substitute "such increase 
shall not exceed five members at any one apportionment." 

Mr. CAMPBELL of McDonough moved to lay the amend- 
ments on the table. 

Mr. THOMAS raised a point of order, whether the committee 
had technically any table, and whether such a motion was in order. 
The chairman, after a consultation with the President, decided 
the motion in order; whereupon ensued a debate between Messrs. 
Logan, Thomas, Edwards of S., Cloud, Casey and others, after 



298 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

which the chair withdrew his decision and ruled the motion out of 
order. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of McDonough said, that if they had no table 
to lay such amendments on, he hoped the Convention would buy 
one at once. 

The amendment was then lost. Yeas 58, nays 59. 

Mr. LAUGHLIN moved to amend the substitute by making 
it read "until the year i860 when the Legislature may increase 
the House to one hundred members." Lost. Yeas 49, nays 66. 

Mr. DEITZ submitted the following as a substitute for the 
substitute: — "until i860, when the Legislature may increase five 
members and the same number every five years thereafter, till the 
House shall reach one hundred in number." 

Mr. SINGLETON moved the committee rise. Lost. 

The question, after a brief debate, was taken on the last pro- 
posed substitute, and it was carried. Yeas 71, nays 57. 

The amendment as amended was then adopted. Yeas 66, 
nays Si- 
Mr. WHITNEY moved the committee rise. Carried. The 
chairman reported and it had leave to sit again. 

Mr. SHARPE asked leave of absence, for six days, for Dr. 
Choate, of Hancock county. Granted. 

Mr. SINGLETON asked leave of absence for Mr. Marshall 
of Mason for five days. Granted. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of McDonough offered a resolution that no 
member shall receive pay for time not given to the Convention, 
except when absent on account of sickness. 

Mr. THOMAS moved to lay it on the table. The yeas and 
nays were demanded and ordered, and then the motion to lay on 
the table was withdrawn. 

Mr. SCATES renewed it, and the question being taken, on 
laying the resolution on the table by yeas and nays resulted — 
yeas 49, nays 91. 

The use of the Hall was given to Mrs. Browne and daughters, 
for a concert to be given on Saturday night to the returned 
volunteers. And then, on motion, the Convention adjourned till 
to-morrow at 9 a. m. 



XXII. FRIDAY, JULY 2, 1847 

Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Bailey. 

Mr. SCATES moved that leave of absence be granted to 
Mr. Canady, for six days. Granted. 

Mr. KNOWLTON asked leave of absence of four days for 
Mr. Lander. Granted. 

The resolution pending at the adjournment yesterday, was on 
the resolution, as amended, of Mr. Campbell of Jo Daviess, and 

Mr. GEDDES offered a substitute for the resolution, and the 
vote being taken thereon, resulted — yeas 67, nays 20; no quorum. 

Mr. Z. CASEY moved a call of the House. Ordered. 

The call was then made and 130 members answered to their 
names. On motion, further proceedings under the call were 
dispensed with. 

And the substitute was laid on the table. 

Mr. BUTLER offered the following as a substitute for the 
resolution: 

That each member of this Convention give in the number of 
days of his attendance upon honor, including the number of days 
he has been absent on leave, and on account of sickness, and those 
he has actually attended in this Convention, and the same be 
certified to by the President. 

Mr. WHITNEY moved to lay the whole subject on the table; 
on which motion the yeas and nays were ordered and resulted — 
yeas 59, nays 70. 

Mr. CAMPBELL then accepted the substitute. 

Mr. SINGLETON offered an amendment — "that each member 
give in the number of days for which he is entitled to pay and the 
President certify to the same. 

Mr. KNOWLTON offered as an amendment, that when any 

member shall be absent at prayers, he shall be docked in his per 

diem 25 cents; at the reading of the journal, 10 cents; at the time 

of making a speech by any member, two dollars; at the offering of 

299 



300 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

any resolution, thirty-seven and a half cents; and at the calling of 
the yeas and nays, five dollars. 

On motion, the previous question was ordered, and the vote 
being taken on the last amendment by yeas and nays, resulted — 
yeas 19. Lost. 

Mr. WORCESTER moved that the Convention adjourn till 
Tuesday morning. The yeas and nays were ordered, and the 
motion was withdrawn. 

A motion was made that the Convention adjourn till Monday 
next; and the yeas and nays being ordered and taken, resulted — 
yeas 8, nays 122. The question was taken on the amendment of 
Mr. Singleton, and decided in the negative. 

And the question being taken on the resolution as amended, 
by yeas and nays, it was decided in the affirmative. 

Mr. BUTLER offered the following preamble and resolution: 

Whereas, incorporations, clothed with exclusive powers and 
privileges, are contrary to the spirit and fundamental principles of 
our republican institutions; oppressive to the best interests of the 
people at large; and tend to unequal, unjust and oppressive monop- 
olies; making the rich richer, and the poor poorer; and whereas, by 
such monopolies and exclusive privileges, the capitalist is enabled 
to control the particular branch of business in which he may engage, 
and conduct the same to the exclusion of the truly worthy and 
deserving; making wealth predominate over merit, virtue and 
integrity; and whereas, the chartering by law and protecting in- 
corporations in the exercise of such exclusive, unequal and unjust 
power and privileges, tends to the concentration of capital and the 
business of the country in the hands of the few, and to the estab- 
lishment of an aristocracy of wealth, and to the subjection of the 
many to mere dependents and servile operators; therefore. 

Resolved, That the committee on Incorporations be instructed 
to enquire &c. of prohibiting the Legislature from hereafter creat- 
ing any companies, associations or corporations — by special act, 
with exclusive powers and privileges, except for municipal purposes, 
and except in such cases where the objects of such association, 
company or corporation cannot be accomplished under the provi- 
sions of a general law which may apply equally to all persons. 

Mr. LOGAN said, he had no objection to the resolution, as it 



FRIDAY, JULY 2, 1847 301 

was one directing a mere enquiry; but the preamble contained 
certain principles which he did not think the Convention would 
adopt. He asked a division of the question. And the vote was 
taken on the adoption of the resolution, and it was adopted. 

Mr. McCALLEN then moved that the preamble be laid on 
the table. The yeas and nays were demanded, and were ordered, 
and resulted yeas 64, nays 67. 

Mr. LOGAN said, it was evident John Thompson had been 
hunting up his stray cattle and had been successful; and as this 
question would lead to debate he moved its postponement till 
Monday week, when the resolutions of the gentleman from Jo 
Daviess would come before the Convention. Carried. 

Mr. SHUMWAY moved a resolution instructing the committee 
on Incorporations to report a clause prohibiting the establishment 
of a United States bank or any branch thereof in the State. 

Mr. SINGLETON offered as a substitute for the resolution 
that no member of the Convention be allowed for his own use, any 
of the paper or ink furnished by the State; and that no member 
be allowed pay for fractions of day's attendance. 

Mr. VANCE moved to adjourn till 3 p. m. 

Mr. ATHERTON moved to adjourn till Monday week. 

Mr. BROWN moved to adjourn till Tuesday next. 

The motion to adjourn till Monday week was lost. 

The motion to adjourn till Tuesday next was decided by yeas 
and nays as follows: Yeas 4, nays 128. 

Mr. BROWN moved to adjourn till Monday, and the vote was 
taken by yeas and nays, as follows: Yeas 7, nays 121. 

The motion to adjourn till 3 p. m., was lost. 

Mr. GREEN of Tazewell made a few remarks on the state 
of things in the Convention, and 

Mr. SINGLETON withdrew his substitute. 

Mr. DEITZ moved to add to the resolution, "without first 
obtaining leave of the Legislature." 

Mr. SHUMWAY moved to lay the amendment on the table. 
Carried. The resolution was then postponed till Monday week 
next. 

Mr. SINGLETON then offered his resolution, (same one as 
before withdrawn.) 



302 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. LOGAN moved to lay it on the table. The yeas and nays 
were demanded, ordered and taken, and resulted — yeas 76, nays 50. 

Mr. HILL offered a resolution that the Convention shall meet 
daily hereafter (Sundays excepted) at 8 a. m., and 2 p. m. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess offered as an amendment 
that, in computing the pay of members for attendance, Sundays 
be not included. A motion to lay the amendment on the table 
was made, and the yeas and nays demanded and ordered. 

Mr. GEDDES moved the Convention adjourn till 3 p. m. 

The yeas and nays on the motion were taken, and resulted — 
yeas 56, nays 69. 

Mr. HAYES moved to adjourn till 2 p. m. Lost. 

The yeas and nays were then taken on laying the amendment 
on the table, and resulted — yeas 62, nays 46. 

Mr. SERVANT offered a resolution that when this Convention 
adjourn, it adjourn till Monday next. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of McDonough moved to lay the resolution 
on the table, till 3 p. m. Yeas 80. Carried. 

Mr. LAUGHLIN moved the Convention adjourn till 3 p. m. 
Carried. 

AFTERNOON 

Mr. GEDDES moved to take up the resolution to adjourn till 
Monday. Carried. Yeas 77, nays none. And it was adopted. 

Mr. THOMAS moved the Convention adjourn. Lost. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Sangamon moved the use of the Hall be 
granted to Mrs. Browne and daughters on Saturday night for a 
concert to be given to the returned volunteers. Carried. 

Mr. BROWN moved the Convention adjourn. Lost. 

Mr. LOGAN moved the Convention resolve into committee 
of the whole. Carried, and Mr. Z. Casey was called to the chair. 

The committee took up the report ofthe Legislative Committee, 
at the 6th section which was under consideration when the com- 
mittee rose on yesterday. 

Mr. HARDING moved to amend said section by inserting 
after the word "districts" where it first occurs, the following: "no 
county shall vote for more than one member of the House of 



FRIDAY, JULY 2, 1847 303 

Representatives.["] Decided in the negative. Yeas 24, nays not 
counted. 

Mr. HARDING moved to insert after "apportioned," where 
it first occurs, "so that no election district shall be enlarged unless 
the fraction over the ratio of population, exceed one-third the ratio, 
and then not unless with contiguous territory." Yeas 55, nays 61. 

Mr. LOGAN offered the same amendment except instead of 
"one-third," it read "one-fourth." 

Mr. ROBBINS moved to add to the amendment "so that each 
county having not less than three-fourths of the ratio shall be 
entitled to one representative." Which amendment to the 
amendment was lost. 

Mr. LOGAN then withdrew his amendment. 

Mr. HAYES moved to strike out the words "as hereafter 
provided for" and insert "in all future apportionments when more 
than one county shall be thrown into a representative district, all 
the representatives to which said counties may be entitled shall be 
elected by the whole district." Which was adopted. 

Mr. SCATES moved to strike out "twenty-five and seventy- 
five" and insert "thirty-five and sixty-five." Lost. 

Sec. 7. TIME OF MEETING OF THE LEGISLATURE 

Mr. THOMAS moved to strike out January, 1849 (the time 
of the meeting of the first Legislature under the constitution) 
and insert December, 1848. Lost. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Sangamon moved to add that the Legis- 
lature "shall not continue in session for a longer period than 
sixty days." 

Mr. BROCKMAN moved to add to the amendment, "and 
the Governor shall have the power to prolong the session, if in his 
opinion the public interests demand the same." The two amend- 
ments were decided in the negative. 

Sec. 8. officers of the two houses and quorum 
Mr. WEAD moved to strike out "two-thirds," with a view to 

insert a larger number to constitute a quorum. Lost. 

Sec. 9. Yeas and nays on any question shall at the desire of 

any two members be entered on journal. 



304 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. GRAHAM moved to strike out "two" and insert "one." 
Lost. 

Sec. 10. Any two members may protest &c., and have their 
reasons entered on the journal. 

Mr. McCALLEN moved to strike out "two" and insert "five." 
Lost. 

Sec. II. Each house may, with the concurrence of two-thirds, 
expel a member &c. 

Mr. LEMON moved to strike out "two-thirds" and insert "a 
majority." Lost. 

Mr. VANCE moved to insert after "two-thirds" "of all the 
members elect." Carried. 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin moved to add: "and the reasons 
for such expulsion shall be entered on the journal, with the 
names of members voting for the same." Yeas 65, nays 46. 
Carried. 

Sees. 12, 13, 14 and 15, were passed without any amendment. 

Sec. 16. PASSAGE of bills 

Mr. KENNER moved to add, "and no bill shall become a law 
without a concurrence of a majority of all the members elected 
from each house." Yeas 62, nays 28. 

No quorum. The committee rose and the chairman reported 
to the Convention that the committee was without a quorum. 

Mr. LOGAN moved that the committee have leave to sit 
again on Monday. Yeas 100, nays 10. 

Mr. GEDDES moved the Convention adjourn. Carried, and 
the Convention adjourned till Monday next, at 10 o'clock a. m. 



XXIII. MONDAY, JULY 5, 1847 

The Convention was called to order by Mr. Edwards of 
Sangamon at the request and in the absence of the President. 

Prayer by Rev. Mr. Bergen. 

Mr. BUTLER presented two petitions from citizens of Lake 
county, praying certain reforms in the Legislative Department; 
which were referred to the committee on that department. 

And, also, a petition from the same source, praying the election 
of district attorneys, &c., by the people. Referred to committee 
on Organization of Departments. 

Also, a petition, from the same source, praying the abolition 
of county commissioners' courts. 

Mr. Edwards of Madison, Mr. Dummer, Mr. Hill, Mr. 
Anderson, and Mr. Davis of McLean, presented petitions, 
praying the- appointment of a State school superintendent. 
Referred to committee on Education. 

Mr. VERNOR presented petitions from citizens of Washington 
county in relation to naturalization of foreigners. Referred to 
committee on Bill of [Rights.] 

Mr. SCATES moved that the Convention resolve itself into 
committee of the whole on the report of the committee on the 
Legislative Department. 

The Convention then resolved itself into committee of the 
whole — Mr. Z. Casey in the Chair. The question pending when 
the committee rose on Friday was on the amendment to the i6th 
section of the referred article, and being taken was decided in the 
affirmative. 

Sec. 17. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the 
House of Representatives, &c. 

Mr. CHURCH moved to strike out the section. Lost. 

Section 18. Every bill shall be read on three different days in 

each House, unless in case of urgency, when three-fourths of the 

House where such bill is so depending shall deem it expedient to 

dispense with this rule; and every bill, having passed both Houses, 

305 



3o6 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

shall be signed by the speakers of their respective Houses; and no 
private or local law which may be passed by the Legislature shall 
embrace more than one subject, and that shall be expressed in the 
title; and no general law shall be in force until published. 

Mr. BALLINGALL moved to insert after the words "general 
law," the following: "shall contain any matter not pertinent to 
the title and first section [t]hereof." Lost. 

Mr. HOLMES moved to strike out "published" and insert 
"sixty days after its passage." Lost. 

Mr. PETERS moved to insert after "Houses," where it 
occurs last, "nor shall any bill become a law until the same shall 
have been printed for the use of the members." Lost. 

Mr. KNOX moved to strike out the words "private and 
local;" which was carried. 

Mr. WEAD moved to strike out "and no general law shall be 
in force until published." And he gave as a reason for this, that 
the fact of "publication of a law would, hereafter, lead to great 
uncertainty. The motion was afterwards withdrawn. 

Mr. HAYES moved to reconsider the vote by which the words 
"private or local" had been stricken out. And the same was 
reconsidered, and the question being taken upon that motion to 
strike out, it was decided in the negative. 

Mr. SINGLETON offered an amendment, which being modi- 
fied at the suggestion of Mr. Logan, was adopted as follows: 

Strike out all after the word "title," and insert "and no 
private or public act of the General Assembly shall take effect, or 
be in force, until after the expiration of sixty days from the end 
of the session, at which the same may be passed, unless in case of 
emergency, the Legislature shall otherwise direct, by a vote of 
two-thirds of each branch of the Legislature. ["] 

Mr. THOMAS moved to strike out the words "private and." 
Carried. 

Sec. 19. STYLE OF LAW 

No amendment. 

Sec. 20. The sum of two dollars per day, for the first forty- 
two days' attendance, and one dollar per day for each day's 
attendance thereafter, and ten cents for each necessary mile's 
travel, going to and returning from the seat of government, shall 



MONDAY, JULY s, r847 307 

be allowed to the members of the General Assembly, as a compen- 
sation for their services. 

Mr. CROSS of Winnebago moved to strike out "forty-two" 
and insert "sixty." Yeas 44, nays 50. No quorum. By unani- 
mous consent, the vote was taken again. Yeas 48, nays 55. No 
quorum. 

The committee then rose, and the chairman reported to the 
Convention that the committee was without a quorum. 

Mr. Z. CASEY moved a call of the Convention. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess suggested that as the object 
of the call was only for the purpose of ascertaining whether 
a quorum was present or not, he hoped that the President would 
count the members present. 

Mr. CASEY withdrew his call. 

Mr. THOMAS renewed the motion for a call, and it was 
ordered. And one hundred and twenty-eight members answered 
to their names. The Convention then resolved itself into a 
committee of the whole — Mr. Casey in the Chair. 

And the question being on striking out, the same was decided 
in the negative — yeas 51, nays 64. 

Mr. CROSS of Winnebago moved to strike out "two dollars" 
and insert "not exceeding three dollars." Lost. 

Mr. SCATES moved to insert before the word "attendance," 
wherever it occurs, "actual;" decided in the negative. 

Mr. WILLIAMS moved to add to the section, "and no more." 
Carried. 

Mr. ROUNTREE offered an amendment allowing the Speaker 
of the House of Representatives $1 additional pay each day; the 
clerk of the House and secretary of the Senate to be allowed ^3 a 
day; the assistant secretaries, door-keepers and engrossing clerks 
fi per day. 

Mr. LOGAN moved to amend the amendment by allowing the 
Speaker %i per diem additional. 

Mr. KITCHELL moved the committee rise; decided in the 
affirmative — yeas 58, nays 50. The committee rose, reported 
progress, and asked leave to sit again; which was granted. 

And then, on motion, the Convention adjourned. 



3o8 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

AFTERNOON 

The Convention met, but few members being present, a call 
was ordered and made; and after the absentees had been again 
called a quorum appeared. 

Mr. THOMAS moved the committee go into committee of the 
whole. Carried, and Mr. Z. Casey was called to the Chair. 
The Convention then resumed the consideration of the report of 
the committee on the Legislative Department. The question 
pending was on the amendment proposed by Mr. Logan to the 
amendment of Mr. Rountree; and the question was taken thereon 
and decided in the negative. 

Mr. WILLIAMS moved to amend the amendment by striking 
out all except so much thereof as related to the pay of the Speaker; 
which was adopted — yeas 65, nays 44. 

Mr. SCATES moved to allow the President of the Senate the 
same pay as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Lost. 

Mr. McCALLEN moved to insert, after "two dollars a day," 
the words, "in gold and silver, or its equivalent;" decided in the 
negative. 

Mr. ADAMS offered, as an additional section to be numbered 
21, the following: "The per diem and mileage allowed each 
member, shall be certified by the Speaker of each House, and shall 
be entered upon the journal." Carried — yeas 80, nays not counted. 

Mr. DEITZ moved to strike out the words "ten cents for each 
necessary mile's travel," and insert "fifteen cents," &c. Lost. 

Section 21. No amendment. 

Sec. 22. No senator or representative shall, during the time 
for which he shall have been elected, or during one year after the 
expiration thereof, be appointed or elected to any civil office 
under this State, which shall have been created, or the emoluments 
of which shall have been increased, during such time. 

Mr. WHITESIDE moved to strike out all after the word 
"elected," where it first occurs, and insert, "be eligible to any 
civil office under the authority of this State." 

Mr. WEAD moved to insert in the amendment, after "civil 
office," "or place of trust;" which amendment was accepted; and 
the question being taken, it was lost. 



MONDAY, JULY 5, i847 309 

Mr. THORNTON moved to insert, as an additional section, 
the following: "And no person who has been or may be a collector 
or holder of public moneys, shall have a seat in either house of the 
General Assembly until such person shall have accounted for, and 
paid into the treasury, all sums for which he may be accountable." 

Mr. WEAD moved to insert after the words "civil office," 
"or place of trust." Carried. 

Mr. HILL moved to strike out "one year after the expiration 
thereof." Lost. 

Sec. 23. The House of Representatives shall have the sole 
power of impeaching; but a majority of all the members present 
must concur in an impeachment. All impeachments shall be 
tried by the Senate; and when sitting for that purpose, the senators 
shall be upon oath, or affirmation, to do justice according to law 
and evidence. No person shall be convicted without the concur- 
rence of two-thirds of all the members present. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery moved to strike out the word 
"present" and insert "elected." Carried. 

Mr. SCATES moved to strike out "two-thirds," and insert 
"majority." Lost. 

Section 24. No amendment. 

Sec. 25. No judge of any court of law or equity, secretary of 
State, attorney general, attorney for the State, register, clerk of 
any court of record, sheriff or collector, member of either House of 
Congress, or person holding any lucrative office under the U. 
States or this State, (provided that appointments in the militia, 
postmasters, or justices of the peace, shall not be considered lucra- 
tive offices,) shall have a seat in the General Assembly; nor shall 
any person holding any office of honor or profit under the govern- 
ment of the United States, hold any office of honor or profit under 
the authority of this State. 

Mr. BALLINGALL moved to insert after "shall" where it 
first occurs, "during the time he shall hold the office, be eligible," 
&c. Lost. 

Mr. DAVIS of McLean moved to strike out "Postmasters." 
Carried. 

Mr. HURLBUT moved to strike out "Register" and insert 
"Recorder." Adopted. 



3IO ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Sec. 26. No amendment. 

Mr. SCATES offered as another section a long series of defined 
powers to be conferred upon tiie Legislature. He then, briefly, 
explained the necessity of placing in the constitution limitations 
on the powers of the Legislature, and the question being taken 
thereon, it was lost. 

Mr. WEAD oflFered as an additional section the following: 

The Legislature shall never grant or authorize extra compen- 
sation to any public officer, agent, servant or contractor, after the 
service shall have been rendered or the contract entered into. 
Adopted. 

Mr. WILLIAMS moved to re-consider the vote by which 
Mr. ScATEs' amendment was lost. And the same was re-consid- 
ered. After a short discussion upon the proper mode of bringing 
the matter understandingly before the Convention, by Messrs. 
Minshall, Servant, Peters, and Davis of Massac the proposed 
section was withdrawn. 

Mr. HARVEY moved to add "that the Legislature shall never 
have power to appropriate more than dollars for con- 
tingent expenses." Lost. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Sangamon offered as an additional section 
the following: 

The General Assembly shall direct in what manner suits may be 
brought against the State; and no claim against the State shall 
be allowed until proven and established before some tribunal and 
afterwards approved by the Legislature. 

Mr. KITCHELL moved to strike out all after the word 
"tribunal," which was decided in the negative; and then the 
proposed section was adopted. 

Sections 28 and 29. No amendments. 

Sec. 30. The General Assembly shall have no power to 
authorize, by private or special law, the sale of any lands or other 
real estate belonging in whole or in part to any minor or 
minors, or other person or persons, who may at any time be under 
any legal disability to act for themselves. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Sangamon moved to strike out all after 
the words "in whole or in part to any," and insert "individuals," 
and the amendment was adopted. 



MONDAY, J ULY 5, 1847 3 1 1 

Sec. 31. The General Assembly shall have no power to sus- 
pend any general law for the benefit of any particular individual, 
nor to pass any law for the benefit of individuals inconsistent with 
the general laws of the land; nor to pass any law granting to any 
individual or individuals rights, privileges, immunities, or exemp- 
tions, other than such as may be, by the same law, extended to 
any member of the community who may be able to bring himself 
within the provisions of such law; nor shall the Legislature pass 
any law whereby any person shall be deprived of his life, liberty, 
property, or franchises, without trial and judgment. 

Mr. BUTLER moved to insert after the word "individual," 
where it first occurs in the section, "corporations or associations." 
Lost. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Sangamon moved to insert after "indi- 
vidual" where it first occurs, "nor to pass any law authorizing any 
proceeding in any court affecting the property or rights of any 
individuals other than is allowed under the general laws of the 
State." Yeas 62, nays 41; no quorum voting. By unanimous 
consent a second vote was taken and the amendment was adopted. 

Mr. SCATES moved to strike out all after the words "provi- 
sions of such law." Before any question was taken thereon 
Mr. Geddes moved that the committee rise, and ask leave to sit 
again; which motion was granted, and the committee rose, the 
chairman reported progress and asked leave to sit again; which 
was granted. 

Mr. SCATES moved that certain amendments to the report 
of the Legislative committee, be laid on the table and printed; 
which motion was agreed to. 

And then, on motion, the Convention adjourned till to-morrow 
at 9 A. M. 



XXIV. TUESDAY, JULY 6, 1847 

Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Dresser. 

Mr. ROBBINS presented a petition of sundry citizens of 
Randolph county, praying the exemption of a homestead from 
execution; referred to the committee on Law Reform. 

Mr. SERVANT presented a petition of sundry citizens of 
Kaskaskia in relation to certain commons granted to them. 
Referred to a select committee of five. 

Mr. WEAD presented a petition of 62 citizens of Fulton 
county, praying the appointment [of] a State superintendent of 
Education; referred to the committee on Education. 

The PRESIDENT laid before the Convention a communica- 
tion from the Auditor of Public Accounts, in reply to a resolution 
of the Convention, requiring information of the amount of revenue 
since 1839, with reports from the clerks of 17 counties. 

Mr. THOMAS moved that the report and accompanying 
documents be laid on the table and 500 copies printed. 

Mr. KITCHELL suggested that the report and documents be 
referred to the committee on Revenue, for the present. 

Mr. THOMAS withdrew his motion, and the documents and 
report were referred to the committee on Revenue. 

Mr. HARVEY, from the committee on Incorporations, pre- 
sented the report of the majority of the committee; which report 
he moved be laid on the table and 200 copies be printed. 500 and 
1,000 were suggested, and 1,000 copies were ordered to be printed. 

Banks — Incorporations 
Majority Report 

Article Corporations 

Sec. I. Corporations not possessing banking powers or privi- 
leges may be formed under general laws, but shall not be created 
by special acts except for municipal purposes, and in cases where, 
in the judgment of the Legislature, the objects of the corporation 
cannot be attained under general laws. 
312 



TUESDAY, JULY 6, 1847 313 

Sec. 2. Dues from corporations, not possessing banking 
powers or privileges, shall be secured by such individual liabilities 
of the corporators, or other means, as may be prescribed by law. 

Sec. 3. No State bank shall hereafter be created, nor shall 
the State own, or be liable for, any stock in any corporation or 
joint stock association for banking purposes. 

Sec. 4. No banking powers or privileges shall be granted either 
by general or special acts of incorporation, unless directed by the 
people of the State as hereinafter provided. 

Sec. 5. The Legislature may, at any session, but not oftener 
than once in four years, direct the vote of the people to be taken, 
on the day of the general election, for or against the absolute pro- 
hibition contained in the fourth section of this article, six months' 
notice having first been given; and if a majority voting shall decide 
against the prohibition contained in the said fourth section, the 
Legislature may authorize the forming of corporations or associa- 
tions for banking purposes by general acts of incorporations, upon 
the following conditions: 

1st. No law shall be passed sanctioning in any manner, 
directly or indirectly, the suspension of specie payments. 

2d. Ample security shall be required for the redemption, in 
specie, of all bills and notes put in circulation as money, and a 
registry of all such bills and notes shall be required. 

3d. The stockholders in every corporation and joint stock 
association for banking purposes issuing bank notes or any kind 
of paper credits to circulate as money, shall be individually re- 
sponsible to the amount of their respective share or shares of stock 
in any such corporation or association for all its debts and liabili- 
ties of every kind. 

4th. In case of insolvency of any bank or banking association, 
the bill holders shall be entitled to preference in payment over all 
other creditors of such bank or association. 

5th. Non-payment of specie shall be a forfeiture of all bank- 
ing rights and privileges, and the Legislature shall not have power 
to remit the forfeiture or relieve from any of its consequences; and 
provision shall be made by law for the trial, in a summary way, by 
the judicial tribunals, of all contested questions of forfeiture of 
banking privileges. 



314 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Sec. 6. Acts of incorporation for municipal purposes, whether 
general or special, may at any time be altered, amended or re- 
pealed, and all general acts granting corporate powers of any kind 
other than for municipal purposes may at any time be altered, 
amended or repealed. But such alteration, amendment or repeal 
shall, unless the right to make the same be reserved, operate pros- 
pectively. 

Mr. HARVEY, from the same committee, reported back 
sundry resolutions, (Mr. Pratt's resolutions,) in relation to a 
provision to be inserted in the constitution, that all contracts 
based upon paper currency shall be void, and asked leave to be dis- 
charged from the further consideration of the same. Concurred in. 

Mr. KINNEY of St. Clair presented a report from the 
minority of the committee on Incorporations. 

Minority Report 

Sec. I. No corporate body shall be hereafter created, re- 
newed, or extended, within this State; with banking or discount- 
ing privileges. 

Sec. 1. Corporations shall not be created in this State by 
special laws, but the Legislature shall provide by general and 
uniform laws, under which corporations, or associations of persons, 
may be formed, and not otherwise, except corporations with bank- 
ing or discounting privileges, the creation of which is prohibited. 

Sec. 3. No person, corporation, or association of persons, 
shall be allowed to make, issue, or put in circulation, within this 
State, any bill, check, ticket, certificate, or other paper, or the 
paper of any bank or its branches, or any evidence of debt, intend- 
ed to circulate as money. 

Sec. 4. No branch, or agency, of any bank or banking insti- 
tution in the United States, or any State or Territory, within or 
without the United States, shall be established or maintained 
within this State. 

Sec. 5. The members of such corporations, or associations of 
persons, shall be individually liable for the debts, liabilities and 
acts of such corporations, or associations, and for the consequences 
resulting therefrom. 

On motion ordered that 1,000 copies be printed. 



TUESDAY, JULY 6, 1847 315 

Mr. HARVEY, from the committee on Incorporations, to 
whom had been referred various propositions in relation to banks, 
reported the same back to the Convention, and asked to be dis- 
charged from the further consideration of them. Concurred in. 

Mr. JENKINS, from the committee on the Division of the 
State into Counties, and the Organization thereof, made a report, 
which was laid on the table and 500 copies ordered to be printed. 

Mr. TURNBULL presented a report of the minority of the 
same committee, which was laid on the table and ordered to be 
printed with the other. 

Mr. JENKINS, from the same committee, made a report in 
accordance with certain instructions from the Convention, and 
recommended that the same be not adopted. Ordered that 500 
copies be printed. 

Mr. JENKINS offered a resolution of inquiry; referred to the 
committee on Judiciary. 

Mr. LOGAN moved the Convention resolve itself into commit- 
tee of the whole. And the Convention went into committee of 
the whole — Mr. Woodson in the chair, and resumed the considera- 
tion of the report of the Legislative committee. The question 
pending at the time of adjournment yesterday was on the striking 
out of the latter clause of the 31st section, all after the words 
"such law." 

Mr. HARVEY advocated the motion to strike out, on the 
ground that the clause as it stood now would effectually deprive 
the State of the power to sell land for unpaid taxes. He contended 
that if this were done, the State would be deprived of one of her 
main sources of revenue; and of the only means of collecting taxes 
due by non-resident landholders. 

Mr. WILLIAMS followed in opposition to the motion. He 
thought that the introduction of the question of tax upon land, 
into the question was unnecessary and uncalled for. He thought 
the only proper question was, should the Legislature have power 
to pass laws whereby a man's liberty or property could be taken 
away, without first obtaining for that law the sanction and 
approval of the judicial branch of the government. This was 
secured by the words "a trial of judgment," now proposed to be 
stricken out. He then went into an elaborate discussion of the 



31 6 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

nature and propriety of selling a man's property to pay taxes 
thereon; thus depriving and disseizing a man of his freehold, with- 
out a trial and judgment of a court; which he said was in violation 
of the great fundamental princ[i]ples of our government. He 
pointed out the great length the courts of Illinois had gone to in 
sustaining tax titles, and the unjust and unrighteous consequences 
thereof upon the land owner. 

Mr. LOGAN opposed not only the last clause, but the whole 
section. Its language was new, and unfamiliar to the courts and 
to the people; it could not be so readily understood as the old, long 
known and sufficient language contained in the bill of rights. He 
thought we would be going too far in thus binding and prohibiting 
the Legislature from doing anything which that section might be 
construed to embrace. 

He then explained at some length, the clause proposed to be 
stricken out, and said that the words "the Legislature shall not 
pass any law whereby any person shall be deprived of his life, 
liberty, property or franchise, without trial and judgment," had a 
much greater effect than some gentlemen seemed to put upon 
them. He interpreted those words, as prohibiting the arrest, or 
seizure of any person on mesne process, or the detention of any 
man's property (no matter what the circumstances of the case 
might be) by attachment. He argued for some time on the in- 
convenience and disadvantages of such a law. He put this case 
among many others: that no man could be put in jail upon any 
charge, and detained there for a moment, without depriving him 
of his liberty. Now, the clause proposed to be stricken out, said 
no man could be deprived of his liberty without a "trial and 
judgment;" and how, he asked, was this to be done. How could 
a man have a "trial and judgment," be tried and adjudged, 
unless he appear and be tried. He proposed that in the bill of 
rights, and not in this article of the constitution, there should be 
inserted the well known provision, found in all constitutions and 
taken from Magna Charta, that "no man should be deprived of 
his life, liberty, &c., unless by a trial of his peers and the law of 
the land." After entering into the bearing this clause had upon 
the question of a sale of land for unpaid taxes, he moved that the 
whole section be stricken out. 



TUESDAY, JULY 6, 1847 317 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin was in favor of the section 
remaining as it had been reported by the committee. He thought 
that the provisions in the first part of the section, were wise, and 
should be adopted; and the mere fact of their not being in familiar 
language was not sufficient for him to vote against them. He 
thought that the cases put by the gentleman from Sangamon, as 
necessarily following the adoption of the latter clause, were 
extreme cases and could be easily avoided by a further provision 
in some other part of the constitution. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery said that at first he was in favor 
of the motion to strike out, but from what had been said, he was 
now in opposition to that motion. He was wholly opposed to 
striking out the first part of the section, where it prohibits the 
suspension of general laws for the benefit and convenience of private 
individuals; and put to the Convention an example of its operation. 
He said the Legislature had been for many sessions beset by appli- 
cations for extension of time to sheriffs and collectors, in which to 
make their returns. In one case in his county the time had been 
extended to a sheriff, and that extension had released his sureties, 
and now the same man was more unable to account with the State, 
than he was at the time of the suspension. He was also opposed 
to the passage of any special law, suspending general laws for the 
benefit of any individual. He did. not care much whether the 
provision should be retained in this article, but he desired it should 
be somewhere in the constitution. 

Mr. WEAD said, that he had known for years, and had heard 
and witnessed much of the extraordinary ingenuity of the gentle- 
man from Sangamon, and the influence he exerted over men's 
minds by his perseverance and ingenuity where he had some 
particular object to carry. He never dreamed that any member 
of the Convention could be induced to reject the section, until he 
heard the argument of that gentleman, and remembered his great 
talent in carrying out his views, and accomplishing what he under- 
takes by special and ingenious argument. He says that this pro- 
vision is contained in new language and difficult to understand; 
that it will lead to confusion and chaos in the interpretation of it 
by courts of law; that it cannot be comprehended unless it shall 
be passed on by courts of law. Mr. W. read the clause: "Shall 



3i8 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

not suspend any general law for the benefit of any particular 
individual." Cannot this be understood by any man? Does it 
require a court of justice to pass on this to enable the gentleman 
from Sangamon to understand it? We all know the gentleman's 
ability to comprehend such things, and measuring this language 
by the gentleman's ability to understand, must we not believe 
that he can understand it without the aid of a court of justice? 
We must come to that conclusion. Now, sir, if he can and does 
understand its meaning, and advocates that it be stricken out, 
should we not infer that he is opposed to the restriction, and in 
favor of granting the power to the Legislature to create laws 
bestowing this evil of special privileges ? Does he understand the 
clause, or is he in favor of granting the power? On which horn 
of the dilemma is he? Mr. W. read the next clause: "Nor to 
pass any law for the benefit of individuals inconsistent with the 
laws of the land." Is there anything in this difficult to be under- 
stood? Cannot the gentleman from Sangamon understand the 
plain language of that clause, or is he in favor of leaving with the 
Legislature the power which this clause prohibits? What is it 
but a prohibition against the granting to one man privileges and 
powers not conferred or enjoyed by all. The same argument will 
apply to the whole of the first part of the section. He then came 
to the last part of the section: "Nor shall the Legislature pass 
any law whereby any person shall be deprived of his life, liberty, 
property or franchises, without trial and judgment." He had 
heard the able and ingenious argument of the gentleman against 
this section, and upon its effect upon the titles to land derived 
under tax sales, and notwithstanding their ability, &c. he would 
attempt to answer them. He said that in other States it had 
been over and again decided that no man should be disseized of his 
freehold and his land sold except on a judgment of law; that they 
had decided that no land should be sold for non-payment of taxes 
except on a judgment. But the supreme court of Illinois had 
decided otherwise. Here was a great difference in opinion upon a 
great principle of right, and in judicial interpretation of the power 
to deprive a man of his freehold. This provision was intended to 
meet this difficulty by setting, in the constitution, the true and 
proper meaning and construction of law on this subject, and with 



TUESDAY, JULY 6, 184.7 319 

a view to preserve, inviolate, the right of property. It is said that 
the question is, shall land be sold for taxes or not? That, said 
Mr. W., is not the question. If I understand the provision now 
before us, or the views of the honorable author of it, the question 
is, shall land be sold for taxes without having first a judgment? 
Mr. W. then went into an inquiry of the nature of the titles by 
which the greater part of the land in the military tract were held, 
and advocated the adoption of the clause proposed to be stricken 
out, because it would require a judgment before a sale of property. 
He cited several cases showing where this provision would operate 
advantageously. — Without concluding, he gave way to a motion 
that the committee rise. 

The committee rose, reported progress and asked leave to sit 
again. 

The Convention then, on motion, adjourned till 3 p. m. 

AFTERNOON 

The Convention met, no quorum appearing, on motion, a call 
of the Convention was ordered. After a quorum appeared and 
further proceedings were dispensed with, 

Mr. MARKLEY moved the Convention resolve itself into 
committee of the whole — Mr. Woodson in the chair, and resumed 
the consideration of the report of the committee on the Legislative 
Department. 

Mr. WEAD resumed his remarks. He denied that it would 
be more difficult to overturn or set aside a deed given under a sale 
after judgment, than it would be under a deed without a judgment, 
and as had been previously the case in this State. He proceeded 
to give a history of the various laws passed by the Legislature in 
relation to taxes. In 1823 the first law was passed for the sale of 
land for taxes. It required that, before the sale, they should be 
advertised, and then the Auditor might go on and sell them without 
any judgment. That law said the Auditor's deed should convey 
a perfect title to the purchaser, no matter how it had been adver- 
tised, or whether anything had been done according to law. The 
deed was sufficient — it conveyed a perfect title. In 1827 this law 
was changed. It required the land to be advertised in a particular 
manner, but when the Auditor gave a deed, it vested in the 



320 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

purchaser a perfect title; and it made no difference whether it had 
been advertised according to law or sold for the right amount, &c. 
The deed vested a perfect title. It swept everything from the 
tax payer without any trial or judgment. Our courts had uni- 
formly decided that the mere deed shall be full and conclusive 
evidence of title, without requiring any proof of the execution 
of the deed, or of any of the pre-requisite facts, mentioned in the 
law. Could any judgment of a court give a better or a stronger 
title than this? But it begun [sic] to be doubted whether the 
perfect title could be given to the purchaser under this deed, as 
that article of the bill of rights says no man shall be disseized of his 
freehold, &c. And in 1839 the legislature passed a law saying 
that a judgment should be had before a sale of a man's property. 
But our supreme court said, that the provision, said to be in the 
Magna Charta, did not apply to such cases, as the deed was a 
patent. Mr. W. then read from the law of 1839, the various facts 
which the tax deed shall be conclusive evidence of, and throwing 
upon the man claiming the property under the original grant, the 
necessity and difficulty of disproving them. This latter he con- 
tended it was almost impossible to accomplish, in consequence of 
no records being kept by the officers, of those transactions, necessary 
for him to make out his case. He contended that the policy of 
all legislation in this State, from 1823, had been to make these 
deeds the strongest kind of titles, and conclusive evidence of the 
facts necessary to establish them. But the supreme court had at 
length decided that a judgment was necessary, and then a law was 
passed requiring a judgment. 

Before this law the deed of the Auditor was omnipotent — 
changed a man's property at once; now you must first have a 
judgment and an execution. It was to secure this, that the 
present provision was inserted; strike it out and you take away the 
last safeguard a man has over his property. In the course of 
Mr. W'.s remarks, he replied to the argument of Mr. Logan, in 
relation to the effect this clause would have upon holding a man's 
property, under an attachment and the arrest under mesne process; 
and denied that any such interpretation could be placed upon it as 
argued by Mr. L. 

Mr. Logan repeated his former views of the question in all its 



TUESDAY, JULY 6, 1847 321 

bearings upon the tax question, and deprecated too much action 
on the part of the Convention in providing a remedy and a pro- 
hibition for every imaginary evil. He thought, as has been said, 
that all the wisdom of the State had not been exhausted in forming 
that Convention, and that we should trust much to the discretion 
and judgment of the Legislatures to come after us. He thought 
that while we were complaining so much of too much legislation, 
there was also a danger of our performing too much constitutioning. 
He said the present provision was in the words "trial and judg- 
ment," which were very different in their import and effect from 
the former and well known phrase — "trial by his peers and the 
law of the land:" and he argued at length that the words "law 
of the land" should be inserted after the clause as it now stood; 
or, if the clause were stricken out, that those words, with such 
other provisions as might be deemed necessary, should be inserted 
in the bill of rights. He objected to a prohibition being inserted 
in the constitution restraining the Legislature from suspending 
any general law for the benefit of private individuals. He had 
voted for suspending such laws in more instances than one; and 
if such cases should arise again, and he denied that he could say 
they would not, he would always vote for it. He alluded to the 
cases where the whole American bottom was overflowed by the 
great freshet in '44, and when the people of that section of the 
country lost everything they had, or only secured so much as to 
enable them to live till such time as they could regain in some 
measure the means of subsistence, then the sheriffs of those 
counties applied to the Legislature for an extension of their time 
for making their returns, because they could not, in many cases, 
collect taxes without seizing upon what little had been spared the 
people by the flood. The Legislature had suspended the law upon 
these circumstances, he had voted for it, and would any man in 
the Convention oppose it, or refuse to grant an extension of the 
time under such terrible and afflicting circumstances? He had 
also voted for an extension of time to collectors and sheriffs when 
the offices in which their books and accounts had been kept were 
destroyed by fire, and they were unable to account with the Audi- 
tor. He pointed out that under this section no charters could be 
granted to individuals to construct railroads or any other kind of 



322 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

improvement, for if they did it was conferring upon those persons 
chartered privileges which other persons did not enjoy.'" 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin said he could not see the great 
difficulties in this section which had been pointed out by the 
gentlemen, and which they had discovered to be so alarming. 
The language appeared plain to him and not in anyway to be 
misunderstood. It was a prohibition against special laws and 
a suspension of general laws for the benefit of particular individuals. 
He thought the cases mentioned by the gentleman last up — the 
cases of the flood — and of fire, might be provided for by a general 
law, giving the Legislature a power under certain circumstances 
which would enable them to meet these cases. It had been said 
that this prohibition would put an end to all railroads being 
constructed by private individuals. Now, when an object can be 
obtained by a general law, as well as by special laws, general laws 
should be adopted. Suppose a law be passed that A. and B. shall 
have the privilege of constructing a railroad from Alton to Spring- 
field, it is a special law, and the same object can be obtained by a 
general law, that any person may construct that road, thus 
bringing all persons who have the means of bringing themselves 
within the provisions of the law, into competition and permitting 
them to make the road. 

Mr. THOMAS. Will the gentleman show me how a man can, 
under a general law, obtain an exclusive privilege.? 

Mr. PALMER. Suppose the gentleman and I are desirous 
to have a certain quarter section of land, and we both start to- 
night to Edwardsville for that purpose; I arrive there first and 
have the land entered in my name. I thus, under a general law 
obtain a peculiar special privilege and right in that land, to the 
exclusion of every one else. I hope the gentleman considers 
himself answered. I obtain this right under no special act, but 
simply from superiority of speed with which I started. This same 
rule, if applied to railroads, would be found to act as well; for it 
would then enable every man, with means, to enter into the 
business. 

Mr. WILLIAMS made some remarks in reply to what had 

^K longer account of Logan's speech may be found in the Sangamo 
Journal, July 15. 



TUESDAY, JULY 6, 1847 323 

been said about the law of the land, and argued in favor of 
the retention of the last clause. He also alluded further to the 
question. The question was then taken on the motion to strike 
out the whole question, and decided in the negative. 

The question was taken on the motion to strike out the last 
section, and decided in the negative. 

Mr. WILLIAMS moved to add to the section the following 
words : "in court, provided nothing herein contained shall prevent 
the passage of any law for seizing and holding persons or property 
by mesne process until such trial can be had." 

Mr. HARVEY moved to insert after the words "trial and 
judgment" the words "or law of the land." And the question 
being taken on the last amendment, it was decided in the negative 
—yeas 46, nays 63. 

Mr. THORNTON moved to insert after the word "law" where 
it last occurs, "provided the General Assembly shall have power 
to grant such charters of corporation as they deem expedient, and 
not prohibited." 

And the question was taken on Mr. Williams' amendment, 
and it was decided in the affirmative. 

Mr. MARKLEY moved that the committee rise. Carried. 

The committee rose, reported progress and had leave to sit 
again. 

Mr. LOGAN asked leave for the ladies of the Episcopal church 
of this city to occupy the Senate chamber on Thursday next. 
Granted. 

The Convention, on motion, adjourned till to-morrow, at 

9 A. M. 



XXV. WEDNESDAY, JULY 7, 1847 

Prayer by Rev. Mr. Hale. 

Mr. CROSS of Winnebago presented a petition praying the 
appointment of a superintendent of common schools. Referred 
to the committee on Education. 

Mr. HOLMES presented a report from the minority of the 
committee on Military Affairs; read, laid on the table and 200 
copies ordered to be printed. 

Mr. LOGAN moved the Convention resolve itself into com- 
mittee of the whole. And the Convention went into a committee 
of the whole, and took up the report of the committee on the 
Legislative Department — Mr. Woodson in the chair. 

Mr. DAVIS of McLean moved to strike out all after the 
word "to," where it first occurs in the section, to the word "pass," 
where it occurs last. 

Mr. LOGAN said, he would be glad if some member of the 
committee who had reported this section would explain the 
meaning of the words "nor to pass any law granting to any indi- 
viduals rights, privileges, immunities or exemptions other than 
such as may be, by the same law, extended to any member of the 
community who may be able to bring himself within the provisions 
of such law." 

Mr. SCATES said, that he would state what his under- 
standing of the language was. Suppose a railroad was wanted 
from Alton to the Indiana line, and the Legislature should pass a 
general law authorizing the same, but requiring that a subscription 
should be opened and let every man subscribe to the stock who 
had the means. This would be a law open in its privileges to all 
who had the means of bringing themselves within the provisions 
of the law, and not a special charter to a few individuals. The 
language of the section is to prohibit special acts of incorporations. 
If gentlemen will understand it all, it means then all these things 
are to be accomplished by general laws, instead of special acts of 
legislation. He was not opposed to the Legislature passing laws 
324 



fFEDNESDJY, JULY 7, 1847 325 

allowing persons to make roads or canals, but he wanted those 
laws to be general in their nature and not special. He alluded at 
some length to the great cost which it had been to the State in 
consequence of these acts of special legislation being continually 
before the Legislature and the great amount of time wasted in 
their deliberation. 

Mr. LOGAN thought it meant no such thing. He thought it 
offered no check to special charters of incorporation by the Legis- 
lature. As to the case of the railroad subscription, that case did 
not come under the language of this section, for if a charter of in- 
corporation, granting certain rights, privileges and immunities to 
those who subscribe, were passed by the Legislature, those only 
then who first subscribed, would be entitled to the rights, benefits 
&c., for no one else can bring themselves within the provisions of 
the law after the stock is taken. Does this prevent special 
charters? Suppose the Legislature should grant an act of incor- 
poration to the Chairman and Judge Scates, to make a road — no 
one can bring himself within the provisions of the law, but those 
two; it is then left with the Legislature to say who shall bring 
themselves "within the provisions of the law." This would be 
nothing more than a special act of incorporation. He did not 
desire this kind of provision, if gentlemen desired that no special 
charters should be granted, why not say so plainly, in language 
which every man could understand; and leave out these ambiguous 
terms. 

Mr. DAVIS of McLean said, he had made the motion to strike 
out for a two-fold purpose. No one could foresee the great diffi- 
culties which this ambiguous language contained in this section 
would cause hereafter, and would throw in the way of private 
relief, in meritorious cases, by the Legislature. The case men- 
tioned yesterday of the suspension of the time for a sheriff's return 
in consequence of the great freshet in '44 was conclusive to 
his mind, and should be so to all. He objected to the binding 
down of the Legislature by constitutional provisions, against 
granting any relief from a general law in meritorious cases. He 
protested against the wholesale abuse that gentlemen were con- 
tinually throwing upon the past legislatures of the country. They, 
it might be, had done wrong, but they were not to blame, they 



326 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

represented public opinion and were driven by the force of that 
public opinion into what they had done. He did not desire to see 
incorporated into the constitution any provision which shall require 
legislation and judicial interpretation upon it. If gentlemen 
desired to say that no special charters should be granted, let them 
come out and say so in terms that any man can understand. 

Mr. BROCKMAN was opposed to striking out any of this 
section, except the words "such as may be able to bring them- 
selves within the provisions of the general law;" for he did not 
believe there was a man in the State who was unable to avail him- 
self of the privileges of a general law. Gentlemen saw something 
important in this provision; it was full of meaning. Why should a 
general law be suspended for the benefit of a private individual ? 
In the county of Brown they had lost over ^i,ooo by extending the 
time to a collector, and such would always be the case if this power 
was left to the Legislature. They say this provision will prevent 
the making of any more railroads through the State! Gentlemen 
think and feel that this provision will act on their favorite — the 
bank question! And so it does, sir; and for that very reason I will 
vote against striking out. This section is full of meaning. Sup- 
pose we reverse its language, and let it read, the Legislature shall 
have power to suspend general laws for the benefit of private 
individuals. It would then be easily understood by the gentlemen; 
and it may be as easily understood in its present shape. He said, 
that he had been opposed to the last clause in the section, because 
it interfered with the primary arrest of persons charged with 
crime, &c., but as that had been amended he would vote for it. 

Mr. SCATES still could not see any objections to the section, 
as had been argued by the gentlemen. If those gentlemen who 
think it does not prevent special charters and special legislation 
would vote for it he would be satisfied. The cases put yesterday, 
where a suspension had been made, could be provided for in 
another section; they could insert a power in the constitution, that 
the Legislature could, in case of the destruction of a sheriff's books 
by fire, extend the time for that officer's accounting, to the next 
session of the Legislature. He pointed out many cases where 
losses had occurred by an extension of time to these officers, and 
the releasing thereby of their sureties. He objected to the many 



WEDNESDAY, JULY 7, 1847 3^1 

reprimands that had been delivered to him in consequence of his 
having spoken of the evils of past legislation, and because he had 
endeavored to have adopted certain necessary remedies of the 
evil, and guards against a recurrence of it. The people had called 
this Convention to remedy that evil, and their representatives 
should be heeded when they asked that these things should be 
done. If everything was to be left open for the patriotism, dis- 
cretion, and purity of future legislatures, it would be better to have 
no constitution. But the people required a constitution and that 
in it the powers of the Legislature should be limited, and the evils 
of past legislation remedied. 

Mr. DAVIS of Massac said, that various opinions had been 
expressed as to the meaning and proper interpretation of these 
provisions in this section. He was firmly of the opinion that 
nothing contained in it prohibited, but authorized, a general 
banking system, and this he was sure was not contemplated by 
the gentleman from Jefferson. 

Mr. SCATES said, that he supposed there would be other 
provisions in the constitution upon the subject of banks, and had 
no thought of it in respect to this section. 

Mr. DAVIS. It is thought by many that these provisions will 
restrain the acts of the Legislature, and to prevent the General 
Assembly from passing acts which tend to impair the public good. 
He did not entertain a doubt but that they authorized a general 
banking system, and that every man who could bring himself 
within the provisions of the law, will be entitled to enter into that 
system. If he thought it would prohibit such a thing he would 
vote for it; but believing that it would allow that system, he would 
vote against it and for striking it out. He was extremely sorry 
to differ from the gentleman from Jefferson, but he felt satisfied 
that if that gentleman would give the subject some consideration 
and mature reflection, he would come to the same conclusion. He 
was in favor of a single, plain provision, that the Legislature should 
grant no special charters or acts of incorporation, and would prefer 
it to one which will lead to so much difficulty, debate, and strife, 
as this provision would when it came to be acted on by the Legis- 
lature. — He had a different opinion in relation to the duties and 
objects of this Convention than that entertained by some gentle- 



328 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

men. He thought they had not come there for the sole purpose 
of saving a few dollars, but for the nobler and higher object of 
making an organic law of the land, which was to govern the people 
and secure them the greatest prosperity. Government should be 
so established as to give it the power to do everything necessary 
for the public good; and he thought we should not restrict the 
Legislature within limits too narrow to enable them in all cases to 
act for the good of all the people. 

He had no doubt but that this provision will authorize general 
banking throughout the State; he was satisfied that this will be 
the undoubted and certain — the common sense — interpretation 
that will be placed upon it. Is the gentleman from Jefferson 
ready to go for it after having declared banks of every description 
a curse upon the land? He thought that when gentlemen under- 
stood this, the provision would not have so many advocates. 

He asked, is it prudent to divest the Legislature of all power? 
He thought more evil would result from this prohibition, than 
would if the whole matter was left open. He explained the force 
of it, under the interpretation which he said would certainly be 
placed upon it, to be: A and B are authorized to bank, &c., and 
any man who can bring himself within the provisions of the law is 
authorized to carry on banking, this would be the sure and positive 
result. Is there anything in this section providing that A and B 
shall not be incorporated? Not a word. Again, any man who 
can subscribe to stock in a railroad company, brings himself 
within the provisions of the law, and there is no preventive against 
such incorporations, and thus are brought about the very conse- 
quences which the gentleman from Jefferson has opposed, and 
again will the prosperity of the State be blasted and destroyed. — 
It was his serious conviction that it would be better to leave the 
constitution as it is, than to have any provision which will author- 
ize a general banking system, allowing the creation of these 
monsters all over the State, leaving its impress on the prosperity 
of the people forever.^' 

Mr. WILLIAMS said, he was not present at the meeting of 
the committee when the section now before the Convention was 

"A longer account of this speech by Davis (of Massac) may be found in 
the Sangamo Journal, July 15. 



WEDNESDAY, JULY 7, 1847 329 

adopted. He felt more interest in tiie principle contained in the 
last clause, and in committee he brought it forward, and the 
committee tacked it on the end of the section. That matter 
having been settled, he thought that the first provisions of the 
section ought to be stricken out. It would be remembered that 
he had not advocated the first part of the section, but had confined 
himself to the latter clause. Let those, said he, who are in favor 
of such a provision and prohibition go to work and make up some- 
thing and have it inserted, in some less ambiguous terms, in the 
bill of rights, or some other part of the constitution; and not have 
this section burdened with language and provisions so ambiguous 
in their expression as to lead to much difficulty hereafter, and to 
so many different interpretations. 

Mr. POWERS said, he was a member of the committee, and 
was present when this part of the section was adopted. The 
committee thought it proper to guard against a suspension of 
general laws for the benefit of private individuals; but for one, he 
was satisfied that the case mentioned yesterday by the gentleman 
from Sangamon, in relation to' the suspension in favor of the 
sheriffs of that part of the State which had suffered so much from 
the great rise in the river, showed conclusively that cases might 
arise when such suspensions would be just and proper. He did 
not see, however, that under the second provision of the section 
that the Legislature would have the power to authorize general 
banking. That provision, in his opinion, would defeat all special 
charters; and if any doubt was entertained the other provisions 
in the constitution, in relation to that subject, would settle the 
matter. 

Mr. HARVEY said, that on yesterday he was in favor of the 
first part of the section, but now he was ready to vote against all 
of it, and would state his reasons. There were many in the Con- 
vention who were in favor of a prohibition against banks, to be 
inserted in the constitution. Now, if he understood the gentleman 
from Massac, general banking might be established under this 
section, and for that reason he would vote against the section. If 
he (Mr. H.) was in favor of a general banking system he would vote 
against the section, and if opposed to such a system he would 
vote against the section. It was too ambiguous and indefinite. 



330 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

and he thought it a cowardly way of fighting the question. Let 
the principle be stated plainly, and not shelter the scheme behind 
a provision couched in ambiguous language. The prohibitionist 
and the anti-prohibitionist, each, see their object in this section; 
it blows hot, and it blows cold, but he thought that it would be 
found to blow neither. Now, if this section came to be passed on 
by the judiciary what would be the decision? If the gentleman 
from Jefferson was the judge of the supreme court, we should have 
a total prohibition interpretation; if the gentleman from Sangamon 
was the judge, we would have a general banking interpretation; 
for he believed that both of these gentlemen have expressed their 
true opinions on the subject. 

Mr. H. alluded to the fact that this provision would not enable 
a man to establish a ferry on our rivers, because every man had 
not the same right; and he asked, were they prepared to say we 
should have no ferries because their owners enjoyed rights not 
enjoyed by all? 

Mr. SERVANT was of opinion that this provision was very 
little understood, either by its friends or opponents, and it re- 
minded him of an anecdote told of an Irishman, who was asked 
what was the meaning of metaphysics. He replied, "when you 
see two men disputing and arguing upon some subject, and neither 
understands what the other has said, nor what he is saying himself, 
nor what is the subject of debate — that is metaphysics." 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin said, that the only serious objec- 
tion to the provision was its ambiguity. So far as that was 
concerned he thought it plain enough to be understood by any one 
who was disposed to do so, and he would say to the gentleman 
from Knox that he, nor any of those "fifty-eight" with whom he 
had voted in opposition to banks in any shape, were disposed to 
fight behind any ambiguity; they sought no cowardly means to 
accomplish their ends; they desired to fight no bush fight. But 
the gentleman's position could be compared with that of a man 
who came into town one day, very drunk, and sat down in the 
street, declaring that the whole town was drunk and he only sober; 
so with the gentleman from Knox, he cannot see the meaning of 
this sentence, and therefore thinks no one else can understand 
it. He thinks everybody else is drunk and does not see himself 



WEDNESDAY, JULY 7, 1847 331 

staggering. Mr. P. had a word to say in relation to banks, which 
he did not think in any way effected [sic] by this provision. Here- 
after, in some other part of the constitution, in some other section, 
would be inserted a provision in relation to incorporations; and 
will any ambiguity contained in this section have bearing upon 
that express provision on the particular subject? It is a well 
established legal rule, that where there is any provision in a law 
open and plain upon any particular subject, that any other section, 
which, if it stood alone, might have a bearing upon that subject, 
shall not affect the question as settled in the section upon the 
particular subject. Now, the questions of ferries and banks, if we 
provide for them specially, will not in any way be affected by any 
bearing this section may have upon those subjects. Again, 
suppose we say that nothing contained in this section shall have 
any reference to the subject of banks or ferries, would it not be 
admitted that such a declaration would obviate the difficulty? 
Well, if a well estabhshed legal principle of interpretation 
has the same effect, then the objections of the gentleman from 
Knox, from Massac, and from Sangamon and other objectors fall 
to the ground. The gentleman from Randolph has, as we some- 
times say, taken water; he says this section may be perverted to 
other purposes than intended by the committee or the Convention, 
The committee who reported this section, knew that the subjects 
of banks and incorporations had been referred to another com- 
mittee, and supposed that a provision would be reported to be 
inserted in the constitution, which would settle the matter. Mr. P. 
again repeated that the "fifty-eight," were no bush fighters, and 
would be found ready to meet their opponents on the subject of 
banks, in a fair and open field. 

Mr. LOGAN said, he had taken the meaning he placed on 
these provisions from the gentleman from Jefferson, who said it 
was to prevent special charters; but it appeared that even the 
friends of the section were not of one opinion as to its meaning. 
He said he believed the interpretation of the gentleman from 
Macoupin was the correct one. But there was no general law 
that would not have to be suspended in some cases, or acts should 
be passed which would protect certain persons; for instance, the 
judges of our courts should be privileged from arrest, the members 



33^ ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

of the Legislature, jurors and witnesses, while in attendance, 
should be privileged from arrest. These persons all enjoyed 
rights, privileges and immunities not enjoyed by the rest of the 
community. Would any man be in favor of depriving those per- 
sons of that right and privilege from arrest? If so, a man who 
desired to defeat a cause had only to have issued a writ, and the 
judge would be arrested sitting on the bench; witnesses would be 
arrested and taken away, and a man might lose his case in conse- 
quence. These were cases, and there were many others which 
this section did not provide for, and which would be defeated were 
it allowed to pass. 

Mr. SCATES explained what his interpretation of the section 
was — to prevent special legislation — and renewed his opposition 
to the motion to strike out. 

Mr. KNOWLTON said, he was sick of this 31st section. He 
had heard all that had been said upon it and his opinions had not 
been changed in anywise. He did not understand the section at 
first nor did he now. Organic law should be plain in its provisions, 
so plain that all might understand it clearly; there should be no 
ambiguity in its language. If the object was to prevent special 
legislation, let the section read— "there shall be no special legisla- 
tion" and then we would know what we were speaking about. 
The gentleman from Macoupin was uncharitable to those who 
could not comprehend this section, and he had compared them 
with the drunken man who thought all others were drunk and he 
alone sober. He (Mr. K.) would inform the gentlemen that if they 
were drunk on this question they had used a little better liquor 
than had John Thompson. 

Mr. THORNTON withdrew his amendment. 

[Mr. EDWARDS of Sangamon said that his desire was to 
avoid all inconsistency, and to prevent the possibility of any mis- 
conception, and this, he thought, would have been accomplished 
by the proposition which he had intended to offer. [Mr. Edwards 
read the proposition referred to.] His proposition was entirely 
different, he said, from the one now under consideration. It pro- 
vided that no charter of incorporation should be granted, nor any 
private act passed, when the object could be as well attained by 



WEDNESDAY, JULY 7, 1847 223 

a general law- And the proposition went on to provide that no 
private act should be passed at the expense of the State. He held 
that there had been an abuse of this power on the part of the legis- 
lature, and he thought that the exercise of the power ought to be 
restrained. It was true that it would have to be left to the dis- 
cretion of the legislature to say what should be considered to be 
an act of public necessity, requiring special legislation, as in the 
regulation of the police of towns, which was now a custom to be 
provided for by general enactment. It had been very properly 
said, that it was necessary to restrain legislation in regard to 
private enactments. Nine-tenths of the laws at present passed 
by the legislature, were purely private acts, in which the people 
at large had no interest. His resolution provided that in case of 
the application for the passage of a private act, all the expenses 
attending it should be borne by the party for whose benefit it 
was intended.]'^ 

Mr. CALDWELL moved to strike out all between the word 
"exemptions" and the word "nor," in the last sentence, and to 
insert after the word "pass," "any special or private." 

Mr. HAYES thought the question, as it presented itself on 
these two last amendments, was open for a better discussion than 
at any time before, and he hoped gentlemen would express their 
views upon it. 

The question was taken on the motion to insert, and decided 
in the negative; the motion to strike out was also decided in the 
negative. 

The question then was on the motion to strike out the whole 
of the section except part of the last sentence, as made by the 
gentleman from McLean, and being taken separately on each 
paragraph, was decided in the affirmative. 

Mr. GEDDES moved the committee rise. Lost. 

Mr. WILLIAMS moved to add to the section, "or for collecting 
taxes by distress and sale of personal property without judgment." 
Carried. 

Mr. HOGUE moved to strike out the whole section as it 
now stood; pending which motion, the committee rose, reported 

^^This insertion is taken from the Sangamo Journal, July 15. 



334 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

&c., and had leave to sit again. And then on motion the Conven- 
tion adjourned to 3 p. m. 

AFTERNOON 

Mr. Z. CASEY offered the following resolution: 
Resolved, That this Convention will adjourn sine die on Friday, 
31st inst. 

Mr. MARKLEY moved the Convention go into commit- 
tee of the whole; decided in the affirmative and the Convention 
resolved itself into committee of the whole — Mr. Woodson in the 
chair, resumed the consideration of the 31st section of the report 
of the Legislative committee. 

Mr. LOGAN said as this section was a pet of his friend from 
Adams, who was sick, he hoped it would be laid aside for the 
present. Agreed to. 

Sec. 32. In the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty- 
five, and every tenth year thereafter, an enumeration of all the 
white inhabitants of this State shall be made, in such manner as 
shall be directed by law; and the number of senators and repre- 
sentatives shall, at the first session holden after the returns herein 
provided for are made, be apportioned among the several counties 
or districts to be established by law, according to the number of 
white inhabitants. 

Mr. MARKLEY moved to amend by inserting after the word 
"law," where it first occurs, the following: 

And in the year eighteen hundred and fifty, and every tenth 
year thereafter, the census taken by authority of the government 
of the United States, may be adopted by the General Assembly as 
the enumeration of this State. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Sangamon offered the following as a 
substitute: 

The apportionment of Senators and Representatives shall be 
made according to the census, which may be taken by the order 
of Congress, next preceding the making such apportionment, 
among the several counties or districts to be established by law, 
in proportion to the number of white inhabitants. 

Mr. WHITNEY opposed the substitute as unfai[r] — in its 



WEDNESDAY, JULY 7, 1847 335 

operation to those counties whose population was increasing, 
and advocated the amendment first proposed. 

The question was taken on the substitute, and the same was 
rejected. 

Mr. WILLIAMS suggested that under the proposed amend- 
ment, an extra session of the Legislature must be called to appor- 
tion the State. 

Mr. LOGAN moved to add to the amendment— "said appor- 
tionment shall take place at the first regular session of the Legis- 
lature after the census shall be taken;" which was accepted, and 
the question being taken on the amendment, it was adopted — 
yeas 80, nays 40. 

Mr. THOMAS oflFered as an additional section, to come after 
section 32, the following: 

Senatorial and Representative districts shall be composed of 
contiguous territory, bounded by county lines, and only one 
Senator allowed to each senatorial, and not more than three 
Representatives to any one representative district; Provided, that 
cities and towns containing the requisite population shall be divid- 
ed into separate districts, but the ratio of representation in such 
cities or towns shall be equal to one and a half of that required for 
counties, and not more than two Representatives shall be allowed 
to each of such districts. 

Mr. NORTHCOTT moved to strike out "three," in the pro- 
posed section, and insert "one." Lost. 

The question was then taken on the section, to the word 
"provided;" and it was adopted — yeas 79, nays 40. 

Mr. MINSHALL moved to strike out "and town," in the 
second clause of the section. Lost. And the question being 
taken on the second clause of the section, it was adopted — yeas 
74, nays 48. 

Mr. THOMAS oflFered, as an additional section: 

In forming senatorial and representative districts, counties 
containing a population of not more than one-fourth over the 
existing ratio shall form separate districts and the excess shall 
not be computed, but shall be added together and given to such 
county or counties in the same judicial circuit not having a 



336 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Senator or Representative as the case may be, which has the 
largest white population. 

Mr. HARDING oiFered the following as a substitute: 

Whenever a county shall be entitled to a separate Senator or 
Representative, and has an excess of population over the existing 
ratio, such excess, unless it amounts to more than one-fourth of 
such ratio, shall be disregarded; and whenever a county has two 
Representatives, and has an excess, such excess, unless it amounts 
to more than one-half the existing ratio, shall be disregarded. 

Mr. HAYES opposed the substitute as unjust, atrocious and 
unfair in its provisions, and as depriving one portion of the people 
of the right of representation. He opposed any arbitrary rule, 
which would restrain the people in having their most sacred right 
of representation, and throw away in the apportionment a large 
body of the people. 

Mr. LOGAN advocated the adoption of the substitute, which 
although it might deprive a fraction of the people of a represen- 
tative, it would also prevent any apportionment for party purposes, 
by the dominant party in the Legislature. He alluded to the 
apportionment made by the Legislature in 1840, when counties in 
reference to the state of parties had been tacked together, for the 
purposes of securing a political majority. He cited several cases 
of this kind, particularly the joining of Randolph and Monroe 
counties. 

Mr. CALDWELL moved to lay the substitute on the table. 

The CHAIR decided the motion out of order. 

Mr. CALDWELL said, he would vote against the proposition 
and the substitute because he deemed them unjust and oppressive. 
Unjust because it deprived a part of the people of the right of 
representation, and of a sacred franchise. 

Mr. SERVANT advocated the substitute, as it prevented such 
iniquitous and atrocious apportionment as had been made by the 
Legislature in 1840. He alluded to the case of attaching Randolph 
and Monroe, which had been put into one district, for party 
purposes; and that democrats had acknowledged that such was 
the object. 

Mr. HAYES. The secret is out. The object of this rule has 
been divulged — it is the welfare of the universal whig party! If 



WEDNESDAY, JULY 7, 1S47 337 

that apportionment was iniquitous, it was in the power of the 
Legislature to alter and change it. Mr. H. pursued the subject 
at some length, and alluded to the fact, that a few days ago the 
gentlemen were loud in their condemnation of party spirit in the 
Convention, and that they desired it should be dispersed, like the 
mists of morning before the rising sun. But now their song had 
changed, and their object was to secure whig representatives in 
the Legislature, which might be defeated if this rule was not 
adopted. — Mr. H. argued at some length on the subject, and in 
opposition to a rule which had been admitted to be unjust and 
unfair. 

The discussion was continued by Messrs. Davis of Mont- 
gomery, TuRNBULL, Geddes, and Logan, in favor of the substitute, 
and in disclaiming for their party, the introduction of party 
spirit; and by Messrs. Brockman, Davis of MAssac and Hayes, 
in reply. 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin agreed with the gentleman from 
Sangamon, that it was right to restrain a dominant party from 
doing evil, but he differed from him in the mode of so doing. 
Not one of the advocates of the rule insisted that the principle 
contained in it was just or correct; they did not deny that it will 
disfranchise part of the people. He had illustrated this same 
thing a few days ago, when the same principle was before them, 
by showing that a county might lack one vote, or a fourth of the 
fraction, and thus lose its representation. The gentlemen from 
Sangamon and Morgan this morning were in favor of leaving the 
legislature unrestrained — of giving them full rope, but now they 
introduce a proposition which they acknowledge is based on a 
false principle, and desire that it be incorporated into the 
Constitution, which will prevent the Legislature from so appor- 
tioning the State as to give all the people a representation. 

Mr. POWERS moved the committee rise and report progress. 
Carried. The committee had leave to sit again; and then, on 
motion, the Convention adjourned. 



XXVI. THURSDAY, JULY 8, 1847 
Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Barger. 

PERSONAL 

Mr. HAYES said, 

Mr. President, I would ask the attention of the Convention 
to a matter personal to myself. I wish to correct a newspaper 
misrepresentation. 

I find in the Shawneetown Gazette, of the 30th of June, a 
letter, dated June 17th, 1847, which is known to have been 
written by one of the editors of that paper, occupying a seat on 
this floor by the courtesy of the Convention. In that letter, 
besides some comments which I do not purpose to notice at this 
time, I find the following passages: "I must, however, give 
Mr. Hayes the advantage of one remark which he made during 
the course of his speech (which you will see reported in the 
Register) in favor of the poll tax — for he took ground in its favor." 
But having gone thus far in approving the effort itself, let me now 
introduce for your reflection, one sentiment with which he 
ornamented it. In advancing the opinion that the people of Illinois 
were willing and disposed to pay the tax, he thought it was not 
oppressive upon the poor — the poorer classes owed it as a duty to 
their government to submit to this tax — they now paid no tax to 
support the government, (the rich paid it all) — and they (the 
poor) were therefore a parsimony upon the bounty of the rich." So 
much of this letter as purports to be a report of the remarks which 
I made upon the poll tax, is an entire misrepresentation, both of 
my language and its spirit. I did not discriminate invidiously 
between different portions of our people. I did not say, "they 
(the poor) now paid no tax to support the government, the rich 
paid it all." I did not use the language, printed in italics, "they 
(the poor) were, therefore, a parsimony upon the bounty of the 
rich." Nor did I use any expression which could be construed 
into such ridiculous nonsense. The obvious effect of this letter is 
338 



THURSDAY, JULY 8, 1847 339 

to create the impression that my speech was an abusive harangue 
against poor men. 

It is true I have never played the demagogue or claimed to be 
the especial champion of the poor, either on this floor or elsewhere; 
but I submit it to every member of this Convention whether I 
have at any time ridiculed poverty. I have experienced its dis- 
tresses, and know how to sympathize with those who suffer them, 
and would be the last to say anything in disparagement of them. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery said, that in that paper — the 
Shawneetown Gazette — there had appeared an article in relation 
to himself; though he cared nothing for what was said n any 
paper, he took occasion to say, that the article alluded to was 
unqualifiedly, prematured and basely false, in every part, from 
beginning to end. 

The reading of the newspaper article was called for by many 
members, and was read by the secretary. It consisted of a number 
of letters, purporting to give an account of the proceedings of the 
Convention. After the reading, 

Mr. DAVIS of Massac said, that he had risen not only to 
complain of the injustice of that report in relation to himself, in 
the misstatement it contained in reference to what he had said on 
the subject of a poll tax, but of some things said in it which re- 
flected on the character of this body, and which might require 
some action on the part of the Convention. He said, that the 
remarks made by him on the question of a poll tax were misrepre- 
sented, wholly misrepresented, by that reporter. 

Mr. KNOWLTON said, that he desired to say a few words in 
relation to this matter. In the preceding number of that paper 
just read he had come in for a larger share of abuse than had been 
dealt out to any other member. The reporter had represented 
him as saying that the heroes who had fought from Bunker Hill 
to Yorktown never murmured at taxation, with some comments 
upon my knowledge of history and acquaintance with dictionaries 
and Murray's grammar. He would say to that man, whose form 
he had seen moving about the hall, that there was one book which 
he (the reporter) had never opened, and that book was the history 
of truth, that to him was a sealed book, the language therein was 
to him unknown ! Mr. K. cared nothing about what a man writes 



340 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

in the papers concerning him; for if those letters should be copied 
into the papers at his home, he thought his friends knew enough 
of him to disregard them; and he would have said nothing now 
unless this subject had been introduced, and because he thought 
this due to set himself right in the eyes of strangers. Any man 
who is permitted to sit in this hall, and states in regard to the 
members what is false, basely, maliciously false, and then turns 
round and attacks the Convention as a body, is unworthy to be 
allowed here, and almost too low to notice. 

I would say to that man, that when he advises the Convention 
to adjourn to the other State house, twenty miles above St. Louis, 
that it would be more proper for him to go there and engage in the 
works of that place, and give us the benefit of his example. 

Mr. KITCHELL thought that the writer of those letters was 
unworthy of the least notice on the part of the Convention or of 
its members. 

Mr. CALDWELL rose to make an inquiry. He thought that 
it was advisable that the name of the writer should be known. It 
had been said that he sits at a desk on this floor, and it is presumed 
that his name is known to the President. 

No reply being made, the subject dropped. 

Mr. SERVANT presented a petition from a number of citizens 
of Kaskaskia, in relation to commons; referred to the select 
committee on that subject. 

Mr. Z. CASEY, from the committee on the Revenue, to whom 
had been referred the communication of the Auditor and certain 
documents in relation to the amount of county revenue, &c., 
reported the same back, and asked to be discharged from the 
further consideration of the same. Agreed to, and laid on the 
table. 

Mr. PRATT offered as an additional rule — that no member 
shall be allowed to speak on any one subject longer than 30 minutes 
at one time. A motion to lay it on the table was lost — yeas 34, 
and the question being taken on its adoption, it was decided in 
the affirmative — yeas 84. 

Mr. MARKLEY moved to amend the i8th rule, by striking 
out that portion which allows members, in committee of the 
whole, to speak more than twice on any subject. After a short 



THURSDAY, JULY 8, 1847 341 

debate, in which Messrs. Pratt, Markley, Brockman, Allen, 
and Z. Casey advocated the- motion, and Messrs. Minshall, 
Thompson, Hurlbut, Campbell of Jo Daviess, Davis of McLean, 
and Kinney of Bureau, opposed the motion, the question was 
taken by yeas and nays, and resulted — yeas 58, nays 78. 

[Mr. PRATT advocated its adoption. He was not disposed, 
he said, to place any improper restraint upon discussion, but he 
would suggest the fact that nearly two-thirds of the time in com- 
mittee of the whole, was occupied by six or eight gentlemen, 
prompted apparently by an ambition to lead. There was no 
doubt whatever about the salutary nature of free and full discus- 
sion, but so far from having a free interchange of thoughts and 
opinions the debate as he had observed, was chiefly confined to 
a few gentlemen, to the exclusion of those who were less ambitious, 
but whose opinions he had no doubt, were of as much value as 
those which they were forced to hear so frequently reiterated. 
He thought that unless gentlemen who were so prominent in de- 
bate on all occasions had a greater fund of thought than had yet 
been developed they would experience no difficulty whatever in 
affording all the light, and in shedding all the intelligence which 
it was in their power to furnish upon any given subject, without 
speaking more than once. He trusted it would not be supposed 
that he offered these remarks in a censorious spirit, but he con- 
fessed that he had found it very irksome to listen to so many 
editions of the same speech, and in order to avoid, if possible, a 
repetition of the evil which he thought had become sufficiently 
apparent to all, he was in favor of the motion of the gentleman 
from Fulton. 

Mr. MINSHALL said, he was not a talking man himself, and 
was not much in favor of long speeches, at the same time he could 
not see that much advantage would result from the alteration of 
this rule. It was one which had been in practice he believed, from 
time immemorial, ever since anything like deliberative bodies had 
been known. If gentlemen were not disposed to listen to much 
speaking they might attain their object by refusing to go into 
committee of the whole. 



342 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 



The debate was continued by- Messrs. Palmer of Macoupin, 
Allen, Thompson, Markley, Mason and Brockman. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess said, he hoped the motion 
would not prevail; he was opposed to it for the same reason that 
he was opposed to the resolution which had been passed this 
morning limiting the duration of the speeches of delegates to 
thirty minutes each. He was opposed to it because he did not 
desire to see any innovation made upon the principles of parlia- 
mentary law, which had been established and confirmed by the 
wisdom and experience of ages. 

Mr. DAVIS of McLean said, he believed the rule which had 
been adopted restricting the speeches of members to thirty min- 
utes, had passed without attracting the notice of the convention 
generally. He was of opinion that if it had been reflected upon 
it would not have been adopted. He did not suppose that he 
would himself desire to occupy more than thirty minutes at one 
time, but he protested against the assumption that no gentleman 
in the convention would need a longer time to express his views 
upon certain subjects. There were subjects to be discussed with 
which some gentlemen were pre-eminently familiar; subjects to 
which they had devoted their lives, and upon which they were 
qualified therefore to enlighten the convention; but it would be 
in vain to expect anything like a full elucidation of the subject if 
the speaker was limited to thirty minutes. They were assembled 
for the purpose of consulting together upon the common good and 
of bringing their labors to a certain result, and before a single 
article of the constitution had been adopted, before they had com- 
pleted one solitary item of their work a proposition was introduced 
that the convention should adjourn in the space of about three 
weeks. He must be permitted to say that if a proposition of this 
kind had come from a young man he would have considered that 
it had been brought forward for the purpose of making capital at 
home, but coming as it did from a gentleman of established stand- 
ing and reputation, a gentleman who held so large a share in the 
estimation of the community as did the gentleman from Jefferson, 
he could not of course suppose that it proceeded from any such 
motive. Would it be within the range of possibility to get through 



THURSDAY, JULY 8, 1847 343 

in three weeks? He certainly thought it would not. The Louisi- 
ana convention, consisting of seventy members, were engaged for 
four months and a half in forming the constitution of that State. 
The New York convention was in session one hundred days, and 
they acknowledged that they had not time sufficient to perfect 
their work. He believed that if in three months time they suc- 
ceeded in framing a good constitution, it would be considered by 
everybody that they had done well; but if they adjourned within 
three weeks and made an imperfect constitution, as must nec- 
essarily be the case, they would have done worse than nothing. 
The sessions of the legislature although they recurred every two 
years lasted three months, and yet this convention which was 
assembled for the purpose of forming an organic law to last for 
centuries, was expected to complete its work in a few weeks. He 
was opposed to all propositions to adjourn until they had finished 
the work which they came to perform. 

After some remarks from Mr. KINNEY of Bureau, 
Mr. Z. CASEY observed that he did not desire to continue this 
discussion, but merely to make a single remark in reply to the 
gentleman from McLean. He was sincerely desirous that the 
labors of the convention should merit and receive the approba- 
tion of their constituents, and in order that they might merit and 
receive that approbation, he thought they should be performed 
within a reasonable time. It seemed to him that it should be one 
object, at least with the convention, to do up the business for 
which they were assembled, within a reasonable time. He was 
inclined to the belief, and he thought that almost any gentleman 
would concur with him in this, that if the mode of discussion which 
had been hitherto pursued in this body, were to be continued 
through all the ramifications of the various subjects to be con- 
sidered, they would find themselves sitting for the next eighteen 
months. He was perfectly sincere when in offering the resolution 
yesterday upon the subject of adjournment, he had stated that 
before he had left home he believed the business of this conven- 
tion might be finished in six weeks. He was now convinced that 
it could not under two months; but he was inclined still to believe 
that if gentlemen would confine themsleves within reasonable 
bounds in debate, it could be concluded without exceeding two 



344 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

months. He would inform the gentleman from McLean that he 
had no desire to act for bunkum. He had no future aspirations, 
here or elsewhere, to be gratified. He desired to see the conven- 
tion form a constitution that would be acceptable to the people, and 
that would tell upon the future destinies of the State; but he was 
convinced that if they sat there for six months, engaged in this 
wild (perhaps he had better take that word back,)— in this wide 
range of debate that had been indulged in, he doubted very much 
whether they would be able to succeed at all in accomplishing the 
object for which they were assembled. He thought, therefore, it 
would be better that they should be confined to a reasonable time 
for finishing the work; and he was convinced that in this way it 
would be more satisfactorily accomphshed. He, for one, was for 
expediting the business of the convention, and in order to do this, 
they ought to limit the duration of the session to a reasonable 
time. 

Mr. SINGLETON said he was opposed to any rule that would 
restrict in any degree the expression of opinion . . . uld be glad 

to see a rule adopted, if now in existence, whi ... .to 

the ques- admit, been .... only if 

made which had not shed new light upon the questions discussed. 
He was for a full and free discussion. He had not come here for 
the purpose of saving time. If that had been the object of the 
constituency of this body, they would have refrained from send- 
ing them here. If time and expense were what they wanted to 
economize, the convention would not have been called together. 
They had in view a higher purpose; they were assembled for the 
purpose of amending and improving the organic law of the State; 
for the purpose of changing and improving their form of govern- 
ment. This was a matter to be done with very great deliberation. 
He would ask if any gentleman would be prepared to decide upon a 
question from merely hearing it read at the clerk's table? Some 
gentlemen after having expressed their own opinions, would no 
doubt be quite willing that the question should be taken without 
further debate; but he for one was not disposed to constitute him- 
self the judge as to when a question had been sufficiently debated; 
the constituents of other gentlemen had reposed confidence in 
their discretion, and he might be permitted to say in their talking 



THURSDAY, JULY 8, 1847 345 

powers, to do something for them — something to forward their 
views and to promote their interests, and he was not for depriving 
them of the opportunity of exercising these powers; and if it were 
to take until December, he was for giving to every member an 
opportunity to express his views upon every subject that was to 
be determined upon. He hoped the proposition would not be 
adopted.]" 

Mr. EDWARDS of Madison presented the following preamble 
and resolutions: 

Whereas, we have just learned, with deep emotion, that the 
remains of Col. J. J. Hardin and Capt. Jacob Zabriskie have 
reached St. Louis, and that preparations have been made to inter 
them with funeral honors at Jacksonville; and whereas, these 
events excite afresh the grief with which every heart was pene- 
trated when the mournful intelligence of their fall on the bloody 
field of Buena Vista was first spread among us; and whereas, 
it is the custom of all civilized nations to honor their illustrious 
dead, and especially those who have gallantly fought and [who] glo- 
riously fell in the service of their country; and whereas, it is deemed 
highly right and proper in itself, as well as promotive of the spirit 
which ought to animate a free people, that we should commemo- 
rate, if not by costly monuments, at least by a spontaneous ex- 
pression of feeling, the heroic deeds and manly virtues of the 
deceased; it is, therefore, by this Convention, 

Resolved, That we do cordially sympathize with the friends and 
families of the slain, who, by this awful visitation, have sustained 
a loss which all the honors of the world cannot deprive of its 
bitterness. 

Resolved, That we sincerely mourn the loss of the State, in the 
death of Hardin, Zabriskie, Houghton, and others who have so 
largely contributed to the lustre of her arms and the glory of her 
name. 

Resolved, That in the death of Col. Hardin, we sincerely mourn 
the loss sustained by the State, in being deprived of a citizen who 
has deservedly acquired the affections of the people, and a states- 

^'This insertion is taken from the Sangamo Journal, July 15. 



346 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

man, whose distinguished ability and integrity were justly admired 
by all. 

Resolved, That this Convention, in honor of those who have so 
gloriously fallen in the service of their country, do adjourn so soon 
as information is received of the arrival of the remains of the 
deceased at Jacksonville, for the purpose of joining in the cele- 
bration of the funeral ceremonies of the lamented Hardin and 
Zabriskie. 

Mr. EDWARDS in presenting the above resolutions said: 

The preamble and resolutions, which I have had the honor to 
submit for the consideration of the Convention, explain themselves. 
We are not called upon, by the tenor of these resolutions, to testify 
our high sense of the important services of the living heroes of the 
Mexican war, to tender to them our congratulations for the 
splendid victories achieved by their valor, or to cheer them onward 
in their brilliant career of glory and renown; but to render a mourn- 
ful tribute to the memory of those gallant spirits who have fought 
and bled and died in their country's cause, to mingle our tears 
with those of their desolate friends, their stricken widows and their 
bereaved orphans. We are not allowed the pleasing task of 
weaving the crown of unfading laurel to invest the brows of the 
living Taylor, Scott, Wool, Baker, Bissell, Morrison, 
Leavitt, Pope and a hundred others who have encircled, with a 
halo of glory, the American name; but to perform the sad office of 
entwining the cypress wreath in mournful remembrance of the 
dead -Hardin, Zabriskie and Houghton. 

As for myself, Mr. President, I find it vain to attempt to 
analyze my own feelings. I know not, indeed, what feeling, at 
this moment, predominates in my own bosom. But, this I do know, 
that when I would rejoice with the living, I am ready to weep for 
the dead — when I would sound the note of congratulation, it is 
hushed in the sadness of sorrowful condolence. And such, I 
doubt not, are the mingled emotions of this Convention. It is 
right, sir, that it should be so. It is right to contemplate the 
desolating havoc of war, blighting the rich fruits of peace and 
prosperity, spreading sorrow and dismay throughout the land, 
scathing the widow's heart, and withering the orphan's hope. It 
is right, too, to soften these manifold horrors of war, by the soothing 



THURSDAY, JULY 8, 1847 347 

influence of sympathy, to dry up the tears of mourning friends, to 
mitigate the sorrows of the widowed wife and to light up the beam 
of hope in the languid eye of orphanage. And what so well 
calculated to dry up those tears, to alleviate those sorrows, and 
to enliven those hopes, as to point them to the noble bearing of the 
lamented dead — to the deathless fame that awaits them; that the 
husband, father, brother, friend is not dead, but lives enshrined 
in the hearts of his countrymen. Death, which comes to all, has 
come to them with a crown of imperishable honors. Their names 
are not only the theme of contemporary praise, but enrolled on 
the page of history, as a memento, to their latest posterity of their 
illustrious lineage. Where, sir, is the sting of such a death? To 
behold the gush of sympathy in the tearful eyes all around her, to 
hear the admiring accents, poured forth as the spontaneous tribute 
of both whig and democrat, to the memory of her honored husband. 
Is not all this a healing balm to the crushed spirit of the accom- 
plished widow of the ever to be lamented Hardin? May it prove 
an all-sufficient solace to her bleeding heart. HARDIN! A 
name ever to be remembered. The name of John J. Hardin will 
never, can never, be forgotten by him who now addresses you. 
Sir, I knew him well. He was my friend, personal and political, 
through good and through evil report. I knew him as the husband 
and the father amid the endearments of the family circle. I knew 
him as the light and life of the social party, diffusing a joyous 
hilarity through every bosom. I knew him as a neighbor, dis- 
charging all the kind offices of that relation in a spirit of courtesy, 
of generosity, of open-hearted hospitality. I knew him in the 
halls of legislation as the bold, manly, independent, consistent 
politician — alike beloved by his friends, and respected by his 
opponents; for enemies he had none. And we all know him as the 
ardent patriot, the gallant soldier — ever the first to advance, and 
the last to retreat; a soldier by right of inheritance, mingling in 
his veins the best blood of the Hardins and Logans, the bravest of 
the brave sons of Kentucky. His devotion to his country is 
written with his blood and sealed with his life. — 

But, in mourning the loss of our beloved Hardin, shall we forget 
those choice spirits of Kentucky, McKee and Clay, worthy sons 
of noble sires— or that distinguished scion of revolutionary stock, 



348 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the chivalrous Lincoln — or the valiant Yell, who, at his country's 
call, forsook the halls of Congress, for the tented field: all of whom, 
mingling in the hottest of the fight, and, by their deeds of noble 
daring, shedding such a lustre upon the name and character of the 
nation — have, side by side with our Hardin, offered up their 
lives as a sacrifice upon the altar of their country. 

And, Mr. President, as citizens of Illinois, knowing and 
appreciating their worth, shall we be said to disparage these great 
names by associating with them, in mournful remembrance the 
names of our fellow citizens, Zabriskie, Hough ton,Fletcher, Robbins, 
Ferguson and others ? Though moving in an humbler sphere, their 
hearts were warmed with a glow of patriotism as intense, and 
their hands were nerved by a spirit as dauntless. They fought as 
bravely, bled as freely, and died as gloriously. Honor to their 
memories, and the solace of our heart-felt sympathies to their 
mourning relatives. 

But, sir, what could not be achieved by such officers, sustained 
by such soldiers as were under their command? It were invidious 
to discriminate where all have proved themselves so worthy. 
And yet, may I not as a Kentuckian, be pardoned for alluding to 
the gallant Kentucky regiment, led on by their brave and chival- 
rous commanders McKee and Clay? Does not the number of 
slain in this memorable action attest their indomitable courage? 
Have they not proved themselves true scions of the old stock who 
watered the plains of Raisin with [t]heir blood, and who boldly 
bared their bosoms to the murderous tomahawk and scalping 
knife, of the ruthless savage at Tippecanoe? Sir, the spirit which 
animated them in their death struggle for liberty, was breathed 
into them by the soul-stirring eloquence of McKee and Henry 
Clay, in the halls of Congress. And these, their noble hearted 
sons, and their brave companions in arms — fired by the same 
spirit and borne onward by the same impulse — have as freely 
watered with their blood, the field of Buena Vista, and have as 
deservedly won for themselves and for their native State, an im- 
perishable fame. 

And now, Mr. President, I ask not your indulgence, I crave 
not the pardon of this Convention, for placing side by side with 
this gallant Kentucky regiment the no less gallant ist and 2nd 



THURSDAY, JULY 8, 1847 349 

regiments of Illinois volunteers — nor for claiming for them as high 
honors and as imperishable renown. As nobly have they earned 
it — for they have poured out their blood as freely upon the same 
field. Their loss, too, equally attests their invincible courage and 
their devoted patriotism. Add to these, sir, the brilliant achieve- 
ments of the 3d and 4th regiments at Cerro Gordo, led on success- 
fully by the gallant Shields, and by the high-spirited, the chivalrous 
Baker, both favorite sons of Illinois — and is not the measure of 
our glory full to overflowing? Sir, proud as I may be of the name 
of Kentuckian, I feel this day no less proud of the name of Illinoian ; 
and have chosen it as the State of my adoption, I ask for me and 
mine no higher privilege than that of living and dying an Illinoian. 
And to whom, sir, am I, and you, and all the members of this 
Convention, indebted for this just sentiment of State pride? To 
whom do we owe it that Illinois stands this day, foremost in the 
estimation of all the States of this glorious confederacy? To those 
very names whom we are called upon by the resolutions under 
consideration, to go in a body and convey to their last resting 
place on earth. And shall we hold back when a neighboring city, 
in a neighboring State, is pouring forth its thousands to pay the sol- 
emn tribute of their respect, when all, the high and the low, the rich 
and the poor, the aged and the young, the native and the foreigner, 
the men of all parties, trades and professions, are gathering in 
mournful procession around the bier, not of citizen soldiers of St. 
Louis or of Missouri, but of our own Hardin, Zabriskie, and 
Houghton? Sir, we ought not, we will not, we cannot, fail in 
meeting the invitation of the citizens of Jacksonville to unite with 
them in this last sad homage to the memory of our beloved Hardin, 
and his brave associates. 

Mr. CAMPBELL, of Jo Daviess, presented the following 
resolution; which was unanimously adopted: 

Resolved, That this Convention, in testimony of their deep 
sense of the loss the State has sustained, in the death of the 
lamented Hardin, and other volunteers who have fallen in the 
service of their country, will wear crepe on the left arm for 30 days. 

In offering the above resolution Mr. C. said, that after the 
eloquent remarks just made by the venerable and eloquent gentle- 
man from Madison, which had sunk deep as the untimely^sorrow 



350 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

for the illustrious dead, in the heart of every delegate, he feared 
that what he could say would rather disturb than deepen the 
feeling. 

We see, sir, that in other states, that in the patriotic city of 
St. Louis, that they think, and they have a right to think, the 
glory of the name of Hardin and his companions, belongs not alone 
to their own State, but that it sheds a halo round our national 
glory. On this question all party spirit is forgotten! All party 
asperities are lost sight of as we kneel in sympathy and patriotism 
and shed tears of sorrow upon the graves of those who have fallen 
in the cause of their country. This resolution is offered not in 
ostentation; the occasion requires it, patriotism demands it, and I 
sincerely hope the Convention will adopt it. 

Mr. BROWN offered the following; which was unanimously 
adopted: 

Resolved, That copies of the foregoing preamble and resolutions 
signed by the President and Secretary, be transmitted by the 
Secretary, to the families of the deceased. 

Mr. KNOWLTON said, that from what had just taken place, 
and the deep feeling excited in every breast, he knew the Conven- 
tion were unfit for business. Our thoughts now are not here, 
they are upon the battle field of Buena Vista and Cerro Gordo! 
And the Convention was not in a state of feeling to transact 
business, he, therefore, moved the Convention adjourn till 3 p. m. 
And the Convention adjourned till 3 p. m. 

AFTERNOON 

Mr. SINGLETON moved leave of absence for his colleague, 
Mr. Brockman, for six days, on account of sickness n his family. 
Granted. 

Mr. ARCHER moved the Convention go into committee of 
the whole; and the committee resumed the consideration of the 
report of the committee on the Legislative Department — Mr. 
Woodson in the chair. The question pending was on the sub- 
stitute offered by Mr. Harding for the additional section pro- 
posed by Mr. Thomas. 

Mr. ARCHER said, he desired to say a few words on the 
question now before the committee, and would give his reasons 



THURSDAY, JULY 8, 1847 351 

why he should vote against the substitute and the proposed 
section. He had some difficulty at first in arriving at the proper 
view of and in coming at the proper conclusion and construction 
of the proposition of the gentleman from Warren; and he yet felt 
some difficulty in doing so. The substitute proposed that, when 
a county had a fractional excess over one-fourth of the ratio, that 
that excess should be given to the county in the circuit having the 
largest white population. There seemed to him to be no sort of 
propriety in adding this excess to that county having the largest 
white population in the circuit, when that county might have 
enough without the fraction to entitle it to a representative. He 
thought the effect of the substitute would be to disfranchise a 
large portion of the people of the State, and could not give his 
consent to any proposition which would deprive any portion of 
the people of the right of representation, or tend to their dis- 
franchisement. We may as well, if we deprive them of the right 
of being represented in the government, excuse them from paying 
any taxes or bearing any of the burdens of government. We are 
told that the principle contained in this provision, is not to have 
any effect upon the apportionment to be made at the present 
time. This argument made no difference with him. If the 
principle was wrong, it was no argument in its favor with him to 
say that its operation was to be kept for the future, that it was to 
be delayed. He understood that the gentleman from Sangamon 
supported this proposition; yet if not much mistaken he heard 
that gentleman a few days ago read a severe lecture to the gentle- 
man from Jefferson, on account of his great distrust of Legislatures. 
A great change must have taken place since then in that gentle- 
man's views. He made them a long speech, in favor of the legis- 
lative department of the government, which he said was the right 
arm of the people. And now he is in favor of taking away from 
the Legislature the power to apportion the State. He is in favor 
of binding it down by an arbitrary rule. He (Mr. A.) thought this 
matter should be left open for the Legislature, and not attempt to 
do too much, by entering into details. If we entered into details 
at all we should do so with great accuracy, but we were not familiar 
with the views of our constituents upon all these trifling matters 
and he thought it best that they should be left to the Legislature. 



352 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

He alluded also to the probability that if this principle of 
apportionment were adopted, although it was said that it was not 
intended to operate on the present apportionment, that gentleman 
in order to preserve consistency, might endeavor to make this 
rule apply to the present apportionment. 

Mr. POWERS could never recognize the justice of any rule 
which would deprive the people or any part of them of the right 
of representation. Population is generally admitted to be the 
only true basis of representation, and any rule going to deprive 
any part of the population of the privilege of being represented, 
was, in his opinion, wrong. He referred to the present state of 
things in relation to Highland and Adams counties, and said, that 
he did not believe that this rule, admitted by those who introduced 
it to be arbitrary and unfair, would be at all satisfactory to the 
people of Adams county. He had examined facts in respect to 
the operation of this rule, and had ascertained that there were 
twelve counties in the State that would have an average excess of 
two thousand white inhabitants, over the ratio; and the whole 
of this large excess would be entirely unrepresented; and this 
excess would be given to the smaller ones. They propose to give 
Adams county, with a population of 18,000, two representatives, 
and throw the large excess over the ratio into a small county 
adjoining with a population of 5,058, thereby giving the smaller 
county a sufficient number for a representative. Thus, instead 
of adding the small county to Adams and allowing them jointly 
three representatives, they give the excess to the small county 
and give her a representative. The effect is that a county with 
19,000 inhabitants is entitled to two representatives; and the 
county with 5,058, a little over one-half the ratio, is entitled to 
one — making each vote in the small county equal to two in the 
larger. How gentlemen can reconcile the injustice of this prin- 
ciple with their sense of fairness and justice is more than he could 
comprehend. 

Mr. BOND and Mr. PALMER of Macoupin followed in 
opposition to the substitute. 

Mr. HARDING made some remarks in defence of his substi- 
tute and then withdrew it. 



THURSDAY, JULY 8, 1847 353 

Mr. BOND moved to amend the proposed section by striking 
out the word "such" and insert the "nearest." 

Mr. McCALLEN said, he was opposed to the whole plan. If 
any county was to have a member through charity, he thought it 
should be given to a small county in preference to a large one. 
Much had been said about principle, and long speeches had been 
made to prove that all our actions should be guided by principle 
alone; and he called on gentlemen to carry out the principle of a 
fair and equitable representation, by dividing the State into 
seventy-five election districts, without any reference to county 
lines, and thus have everyone represented, and avoid all fractions. 

The question was then taken on Mr. Bond's amendment, and 
decided in the affirmative — yeas 71, nays 39. 

Mr. McCALLEN offered an amendment, "that no district 
shall have more than one representative." Lost. 

The question was then taken on the proposed section of Mr. 
Thomas, and decided in the affirmative — yeas 76, nays 49. 

Sec. 23- The State may, to meet casual deficits or failures in 
revenues, contract debts, but never to exceed in the aggregate 
fifty thousand dollars; and no debt for any other purpose, except 
to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, or defend the State in war, 
for payment of which the faith of the State shall be pledged, shall 
be contracted, unless the law authorizing the same shall, at a 
general election, have been submitted to the people, and have 
received a majority of all the votes cast for and against it at 
such election. 

Mr. ARCHER moved to amend by adding at the end of the 
section, "and the Legislature shall provide for the publication, 
for three months at least, of each law, before the time of the vote 
thereon." And the question being taken thereon, it was decided 
in the affirmative — yeas 95. 

Mr. KENNER moved to strike out all before the word 
"unless," and insert "the State shall have no power to contract 
debts." 

Mr. SIM oflFered as a substitute for the amendment — strike 
out all so as the section will read, ' the State shall have no power 
to borrow money, except to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, 
or defend the State in war, for payment of which the faith of the 



354 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

State shall be pledged, unless the law authorizing the same, and 
setting forth the purposes for which the same is borrowed, shall, 
at a general election," &c. And the question being taken on 
submitting this for the amendment, it was decided in the affirm- 
ative. 

Mr. EDWARDS moved as a substitute for the amendment to 
strike it all out and prefix to the section the following: "The 
expenditures of the government for any given period shall never 
exceed the amount of revenue authorized by law to be raised in 
such period, provided the State may," &c., and strike out the 
word "but" in section. 

Mr. THOMAS moved to strike out the word "period" and 
insert "year." Lost. And the question being taken on the 
adoption of Mr. Edwards' substitute, it was, on the third count, 
carried — yeas 57, nays 54. 

Mr. HAYES moved to strike out all of the section after the 
word "contracted." Lost. 

Mr. SHARPE offered a long amendment, which we had not 
time to copy, and which was rejected. 

Mr. Shumway, Powers and Peters offered amendments, 
which were embodied in the follow[ing] — and added to the sec- 
tion: "And provision shall be made at the time of contracting 
the debt for the payment of the interest thereon, by revenue to be 
raised by tax, or otherwise, for that purpose." 

Mr. HAYES moved to add to the amendment: "Provided 
that the law authorizing the debt to be contracted shall be sub- 
mitted to the people, with the law levying the tax for the same." 

Mr. HARVEY moved to add to the first amendment, "which 
law shall be irrepealable." Carried. And the amendment of 
Mr. Hayes was adopted; and the amendment as amended was 
also adopted. 

Mr. SCATES moved to strike out "contract debts." Lost. 

Mr. THORNTON moved to insert after "fifty thousand 
dollars," "and the moneys thus borrowed shall be applied to the 
purpose for which they were obtained, or to repay the debt thus 
made, and to no other purpose." Carried. 

Mr. KENNER moved to strike out the words "against it," 



THURSDAY, JULY 8, 1847 355 

in 5th line, and insert "for members of the General Assemb[l]y;["] 
which was adopted. 

Mr. LOGAN moved the committee rise. Carried; and the 
chairman reported and asked leave for the committee to sit again. 
Granted. 

And then, on motion, the Convention adjourned. 



XXVII. FRIDAY, JULY 9, 1847 

Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Bergen. 

Messrs. HAWLEY and SPENCER presented petitions 
praying the appointment of a State superintendant of schools; 
referred to the committee on Education. 

The PRESIDENT laid before the Convention, a communica- 
tion from the Governor, enclosing a statement of the public debt, 
which will appear in our next. 

Mr. CASEY moved that 1,000 copies [be] printed. 2, 3, 
and 5,000 copies were suggested, and voted down; and the first 
number was adopted. 

Mr. HOGUE moved the Convention resolve itself into com- 
mittee of the whole. Carried, and Mr. Woodson took the Chair. 

Mr. SHARPE moved to take up the 31st section, which had 
been passed over nformally the other day. Lost. 

Section 34. No amendment. 

Sec. 35. The Legislature shall provide by law that the fuel 
and stationery furnished for the use of the State; the copying, 
printing, and distributing the laws and journals of the General 
Assembly shall be let, by contract, to the lowest responsible 
bidder, and that no member of the General Assembly, or other 
officer of the State, be interested either directly or indirectly in 
any such contract. 

Mr. THOMAS moved to insert "binding" after the word 
"printing." Carried. 

Mr. CHURCHILL moved to insert "lights" after the word 
"fuel." Lost. 

Mr. NORTHCOTT moved to amend by adding at the end of 
the section the words: "no private act shall be printed at the 
public expense." Yeas 77, nays 23. No quorum. A second 
vote resulted — yeas 57, nays 65. Rejected. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Sangamon proposed the same amend- 
ment, with the following words added thereto — "unless by a vote 
of three-fourths of the General Assembly." 
356 



FRIDAY, JULY 9, 1847 357 

Mr. TURNBULL offered as a substitute — "no private act 
shall be published, except at the cost of the party for whose benefit 
it is passed." Lost. 

And the question being taken on Mr. Edwards' amendment, 
it was decided in the negative. 

Mr. DAWSON moved to insert "shall" after "State," in 4th 
line. Adopted. 

Mr. BROWN moved to strike out "copying," in 2d line. 
Lost. 

Mr. SCATES moved to insert after "journal" — "and all other 
printing ordered by." Carried. — Yeas 83. 

Mr. BUTLER moved to strike out all of the 35th section. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess said, he thought the better 
way would be to leave this whole question open to the action of 
the Legislature, who could fix in the law, authorizing the printing, 
binding, &c., a statement of the prices to be paid for the work. 
He had some knowledge of this system of letting the work out to 
the lowest bidder, and knew from experience, that there would 
be no saving to the State. This matter of the binding had been 
let out by contract some time ago, to the lowest bidder, and what 
was the consequence? Why there were several binders in this 
city, yet there was but one bid, and the contract was given to 
them at prices but very little less than those before paid, and 
stated in the law. There was no competition, men could not come 
here from other places, and establish offices for the mere purpose 
of obtaining this State work; and he again stated his opinion was 
that the question should be left open for the Legislature. 

Mr. LOGAN said, he did not agree with the gentleman last 
up, in his views of this question. He thought that if a "little" 
only was saved, it still was so much saved to the State by this 
means. He would point out to the gentleman, that in one case — 
the revised code — the contract for binding was let out to the 
lowest bidder, and the amount paid was only one-half the price 
that was fixed in the law. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess replied, that in the case cited 
by the gentleman, the contract was taken at prices so low that the 
man could not perform the work without a loss. For, after they 
had undertaken the work, and after the adjournment of the Legis- 



358 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

lature, they had addressed a letter to the Secretary of State 
(Mr. C.) in which they state[d] the prices were too low; that officer 
explained to them that they had entered into a contract, and it 
was not in his power to annul it. If he was not much mistaken, 
the gentleman from Sangamon (Mr. Logan) introduced, at 
the next session of the Legislatu[r]e, a bill for the relief of these 
contractors, in consequence of their losses by this contract. 

Mr. LOGAN explained, that the bill for relief had been 
introduced because there was a difference in the kind of binding 
done, from what had been contracted for. The relief was given. 
They also had petitioned for relief in consequence of the amount 
of binding done was not as great as was anticipated when the 
contract was taken, for this however they received no relief. He 
said this much in explanation of his course in the Legislature. 

Mr. WEAD said, it was a matter of regret that we should 
have to hear explanations of the gentleman's legislative course so 
often; and it was also a source of much greater regret that it had 
not been published in a book, so that we should not be obliged to 
hear it at the expense of the people. 

It had been shown by the gentleman from Jo D. that nothing 
could be saved in the end by this plan of having the binding and 
printing done, and he could see no objection to leaving the matter 
open to the Legislature, to be provided for by them. Gentlemen 
had opposed all restrictions on the Legislature, had declared that 
with this Convention had not been exhausted the wisdom of the 
State, and that we should go into details. But now, gentlemen 
say that the legislature shall have no power, no discretion in this 
matter, and that we must bind them down by the most strict lines 
and provisions? He was in favor, as he had before stated, of 
leaving the question with the Legislature. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Sangamon said, that in order to meet the 
views of gentlemen and to carry out the suggestions of the gentle- 
man from Jo D. he would offer the following proviso: "That the 
Legislature shall fix in the law a maximum price for such printing, 
binding &c." 

Mr. BUTLER was in favor of striking the whole section out; 
it was a reflection upon the honesty and integrity of all future 
Legislatures. To say that they cannot make a contract about 



FRIDAY, JULY p, 1847 359 

the printing and binding the laws of the State, without wronging 
the State was a reflection upon the honor and integrity of the 
Legislature. He was not a little amused at the course of the 
gentleman from Sangamon, he was afraid a day or two ago that 
the Convention was doing too much, that it was legislating and 
leaving nothing for Legislatures to do hereafter. To-day he is in 
favor and desirous of binding them down by constitutional pro- 
visions upon this trifling matter. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery expressed himself in favor of 
the section as it is. 

Mr. KNAPP of Jersey offered the following as a substitute: 
"Provided, the Legislature shall have the right to determine 
whether the lowest responsible bid, as contemplated in the 
section, shall be reasonable in its amount and as low as could be 
obtained by private contract." Lost. And the question being 
taken on the amendment of Mr. Edwards, it was carried — yeas 
76, nays 43. The question was taken on striking out the section, 
and decided in the negative. 

Mr. SHARPE moved to insert after "bidder," "so that said 
bidder is a resident of this State." — Lost. 

Mr. SINGLETON moved to re-consider the vote by which 
an amendment offered by him on Wednesday last, to the 3d 
section, had been lost; and the committee refused to re-consider — 
yeas 54, nays 55. 

The committee then took up the 31st section as it was amended; 
which had been laid over. 

Mr. SHARPE offered the following as a substitute for the 
section as amended: "The Legislature shall not have power to 
provide by law for the sale of non-residents' lands for taxes, until 
judgment shall first be had against the same." 

Messrs. Sharpe, Williams, Davis of Montgomery, and 
ScATES made some remarks thereon, after which a motion was 
made that the committee rise; which was decided in the negative — 
yeas 40, nays not counted. 

Mr. ARCHER hoped the vote would not now be taken on 
this amendment, till the members had had sufficient reflection 
on the subject. He renewed the motion to rise — yeas 60, nays 61. 
Lost. 



36o ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

The question was taken on the amendment, and decided in 
the negative. 

Mr. WILLIAMS moved to insert after the word "process," 
the words "or otherwise." 

Mr. McCALLEN was not ready to vote upon the question 
now, and he renewed the motion that the committee rise. 

Mr. PETERS thought we might vote now upon this section 
now and report it to the house, have it printed, and then members 
could have time to vote deliberately upon its adoption. The 
motion to rise was decided in the negative. 

Mr. WILLIAMS' amendment was then adopted. 

Mr. LOGAN moved to insert after "court," "in some usual 
and regular tribunal." Carried. 

The section then stood as follows: 

"The General Assembly shall have no power to pass any law 
whereby any person shall be deprived of his life, liberty, property, 
or franchises, without trial and judgment in court, or some usual 
and regular tribunal; provided, that nothing herein contained shall 
prevent the passage of any law for seizing and holding persons 
and property by mesne process or otherwise until such trial can 
be had; or for collecting taxes by distress and sale of personal 
property without judgment." 

Mr. Z. CASEY moved the committee rise and report to the 
Convention their proceedings; and the chairman reported, the 
committee had had under consideration, &c., and reported the same 
back with various amendments, and asked the concurrence of the 
Convention therein. 

Mr. THOMAS moved the report and amendments be laid on 
the table, and 200 copies printed. Carried. 

And then, on motion, the Convention adjourned till 3 p. m. 

AFTERNOON 

Mr. LOCKWOOD moved the Convention resolve itself 
into committee of the whole; and the Convention resolved itself into 
committee — ;Mr. Crain in the chair — and took up the report of 
the committee on the Executive Department. 

Sec. I. No amendment. 

Sec. 2. Mr. LOCKWOOD moved to amend by providing 



FRIDAY, JULY 9, 1S47 361 

that the next Governor shall commence his term on the 2d Monday 
in January, 1849, and the next in January, '53, and every tour 
years thereafter, &c. Carried. 

Mr. DALE moved to strike out"i853"and insert"i850." Lost. 

Sec. 3. The Governor shall hold his office for the term of 
four years, and until another Governor shall be elected and 
qualified; but he shall not be eligible for more than four years in 
any term of eight years. 

Mr. LOCKWOOD moved to amend by prefixing thereto 
the following: 

"The first election of Governor shall be held on the first 
Monday in November, 1848, and the next election shall be held 
on the first Monday of November, 1852, and forever thereafter 
elections for Governor shall be held once in four years on the first 
Monday of November." 

Mr. CROSS of Winnebago moved to strike out all after 
"qualified." Lost. 

Mr. FARWELL opposed the amendment as it put the present 
Governor out of office before the expiration of his term. The 
question being taken the amendment was adopted. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Sangamon moved to add to the section 
"nor any other officer till the expiration of the term." Carried. 

Sec. 4. No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen 
of the United States at the time of the adoption of this constitution, 
shall be eligible to the office of Governor; neither shall any person 
be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of 
thirty-five years, and been ten years a resident within this State. 

Mr. PRATT moved to strike out the section and insert the 
following; which was lost: 

"No person except a citizen of the United States, and who 
shall have been a resident of this State for the pe[riod] of five 
years next preceding his election, shall be eligible to the office of 
Governor; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who 
has not attained to the age of thirty years." 

Mr. LEMON moved to strike out "thirty-five," and insert 
"forty-five." Lost. 

Mr. SCATES moved to strike out the words "a natural born 
citizen, ["] and "at the time of the adoption of this constitution." 



362 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. HENDERSON was in favor of the amendment of the 
gentleman from Jefferson. He thought that the article as it 
stood now would exclude many individuals worthy the office, 
from being chosen by the people. There were several cases where 
the exclusion, contemplated by this section, would operate un- 
justly; one of these was in the case a person came here when a 
child, was raised here, with all the feelings and sentiments of an 
American, and he would be excluded from office. He saw no 
necessity for the restriction and hoped the amendment would be 
adopted. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess said that he rose, not for the 
purpose of making a speech, but merely to say that when this 
question would come before them properly for action, and when 
the ayes and noes could be called, then this section shall not pass 
without a contest. This section as reported by the committee is 
a "Native American" principle carried into effect. Why was the 
old constitution changed? Why was this new theory introduced. 
We had not been sent here to break down and destroy the old 
constitution, but simply to amend it in such provisions and 
particulars as the people desired to have changed. Where — when 
did the people ask for this restriction ? Had any petition been sent 
to this Convention asking for a change in the constitution? 
Which of the States that had adopted new constitutions, had 
introduced this restriction upon the right of the people to choose 
who they may? 

He was in favor of allowing all citizens the same privileges. 

Mr. LOCKWOOD said, that the committee had been unani- 
mous in their action upon this section, and he knew none of them 
to be called "Native Americans." For himself he would say that 
he had no prejudice against foreigners, and if the gentleman would 
look at the old constitution he will find that this section is more 
favorable to them than that. 

By the constitution, no foreigner could be eligible to the office 
of Governor, until he had been thirty years a citizen of the United 
States. 

Mr. NORTON said, he did not propose, at the present stage 
of this question, to enter into any argument upon it. He should 
vote for the amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson. He 



FRIDAY, JULY 9, 1847 363 

should do so for the reason that he would make no distinction 
between American citizens whether native or naturalized. He 
desired to see no such distinction incorporated into our constitu- 
tion. He would desire the people of this country to become in 
truth one people, and when foreigners leave their native lands, 
and have settled amongst us, he would hold out every honorable 
inducement to them, to become Americans in deed, by conforming 
to the naturalization laws of the United States, and, when they 
have done this, he would offer no obstruction to their advance- 
ment in the State. This is what is contemplated by the amend- 
ment, and he should therefore vote for it. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery said, he would vote for the report 
as it came from the committee, and would state his reasons for so 
doing. The gentleman from Jo Daviess said, that popular opinion 
was not in favor of this restriction upon foreigners holding the 
highest offices; now he did not know what popular opinion was in 
Jo Daviess, but he knew as well as Mr. C. what it was in Bond 
and Montgomery, and he was sure he was supporting the popular 
opinion of those counties, when he voted for this report. Gentle- 
men say that this is placing an unjust restriction upon the citizens 
of our country, why did those men of the revolution, those who 
signed the Declaration of Independence, and who framed the 
federal constitution, introduce this same provision into it, by 
prohibiting any but a native born citizen of the United States from 
being President? And who desired it to be stricken out? If to 
preserve that principle which should be incorporated into our 
State constitution, and he who desires it not to be stricken out is a 
"Native American," then I am "Native American!" He was 
in favor of giving to foreigners, against whom he wasnotprejudiced, 
all privileges of our citizens they can properly claim, but not to 
the exclusion of Americans; not to raise them above the heads of 
our own countrymen, into high and important offices, before they 
are sufficiently acquainted with our language to speak it plainly. 
They were told that when this question came before them at 
another time, that the ayes and noes would be called, if so, he 
would not be afraid to record his vote in favor of the report. 

Mr. GEDDES said, the friendship expressed for our European 
friends who came to our State, reminded him of certain tribes of 



364 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Indians, who gave to their guests their wives and daughters to 
sleep with. Now, while he was ready and willing to give foreigners 
meat and drink, he was not disposed to give up his bed. He was 
willing that they should kneel at the same altar with him, but not 
to be his priest. He was willing they should live in the country 
but not to be his rulers. 

Mr. PRATT stated that he had offered his amendment to 
effect the same object as proposed by the gentleman from Jeffer- 
son, in the amendment now before them, but as it had been voted 
down so quickly, he would like now to state his reasons for pre- 
senting it. He thought that any restriction like that contained 
in the section as reported, was a reflection upon the intelligence 
of the people— it doubted in them the capability of selecting their 
own rulers, it denied them the right of so doing when their choice 
fell upon one whose birth was in a different land. No matter what 
public service, what eminent talent; no matter how capable he 
might be to perform the duties of the office, he was excluded by 
this provision, and the people denied the privilege of elevating 
him. There were many cases where its effect would operate 
unjustly, and one had been cited by the gentleman from Will, 
(Mr. Henderson) of a child who might have been born in a 
foreign land, but who had been reared under our fostering insti- 
tutions, and who had learned to love and revere them, and, no 
matter how eminent and distinguished he might become, was 
fortver prohibited from holding the station of Governor of this 
State. He had no love for foreigners, but he had ever known 
them to make good citizens, men as devo.ted to the interests and 
welfare of the country as any others, and as well entitled to the 
confidence and respect of the Convention as any other class. The 
old constitution was a virtual prohibition of foreigners from 
holding the office of Governor. It provided that he should be a 
citizen of the United States for thirty years, which, supposing a 
foreigner came here at twenty-five years of age, then five years 
before he became a citizen, and it would make him sixty years of 
age before he was eligible to the office of Governor. — That was 
an age at which men seldom aspired to such an office, and they 
were, therefore, virtually prohibited. Now if this rule was to be 
changed at all, it should be because it was wrong, and if it was 



FRIDAY, JULY 9, 1847 365 

wrong, why should it be presented in its present shape as a remedy? 
Another objection he had to the section was the proposed increase 
in the age of the person to fill the office. Thirty-five years was 
proposed. Why increase it from thirty, as it stood in the old 
constitution? Had any evils resulted from the age being fixed at 
that period? He referred the committee to the fact that when 
DeWitt Clinton, Daniel D. Tompkins, and Gov. Seward were 
chosen Governor of New York, neither had attained the age of Ji'i- 
No one had ever complained of these men, or their administrations, 
because of their age. 

After some further remarks on this subject, he returned to the 
subject of foreigners, and said that in the whole thirty States 
there were but three that had a provision in their constitutions 
like this reported by the committee; and neither of those States 
would he cite as an example for this State to follow in the formation 
of a government. Not one of the States which had lately formed a 
constitution had anything of the kind contained amongst their 
provisions. Iowa had not; Louisiana and Michigan had not; 
New York had not — her provision is in the very words of his 
amendment which had been voted down. 

Mr. LOGAN said, that when in order he would offer an 
amendment changing the section so that fifteen years citizenship 
should be required before a foreigner shall be eligible to the office 
of Governor. He was sorry that so much feeling had been shown 
on this question, and also sorry that the Convention had been 
threatened with the yeas and nays on this question. He had no 
fears himself to have his vote recorded, and he did not think that 
any others were to be influenced by any such proceeding. He had 
no love for foreigners, nor was he prejudiced against them; he 
never regarded foreigners in the community as foreigners through 
fear, favor or aflPection. He was not disposed to proscribe them, 
while at the same time he was unwilling they should have privi- 
leges, which, in his opinion and in his conscience, he thought they 
were not entitled to. Foreigners are becoming a powerful body 
in this Union; in some States they have a great influence, being 
what is called the balance of power party, and it was no more than 
prudent to guard against danger from an increase of that power 
and influence. 



366 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

As to the question of age, for Governor, he was not in favor ot 
reducing the period below thirty-five years. An age when men 
generally arrived at that necessary judgment, capacity and 
experience, to enable them to discharge the duties of that high 
oifice with fidelity and satisfaction. They had fixed the time for 
voting at an age when it was presumed that a man's mind had 
become sufficiently matured to be entrusted with that privilege, 
and he thought a time should also be fixed at a period when a 
similar presumption would exist, that his mind had been formed, 
and his judgment and capacity so settled that there would be no 
danger in committing to his hands the guidance of the government. 
He knew that age did not give more energy to the mind, nor 
increase the brightness of the genius, but every day that a man 
approached thirty-five he was improving in steadiness, experience 
and judgment. It was said that young men had been selected 
for this office, and that there were young men in the State who 
could fill the office, he would not deny; but it is well known that 
boys have, for a long time, their wild oats to sow, and that, gener- 
ally, they were more easily influenced by friends and advisers, 
and did not possess that stability which age and experience confers. 
Exceptions to this rule may be found, but generally such was the 
case. Thirty-five years was a low period to fix, and the young 
man who has the ability to discharge the duties of that office, will 
not be any less qualified when he arrives at that age. 

A man may have a good mind, may shine in the Legislative 
hall, his genius may display itself with more brilliancy — and his 
fancy and imagination may be more exuberant than all others 
around him; but for the sober discharge of the important duties of 
the chief executive office of the State, more than these are required 
— he wants steadiness, calculation, experience and sound judg- 
ment. You might as well say that we restrict the right of suffrage, 
when we exclude an intelligent boy of eighteen from voting, as to 
complain of our excluding a man from the office of Governor until 
he has arrived at thirty-five. The same principle applies to both 
cases. And so with a foreigner. The man who comes here from 
a foreign land knows the policy of the government of England, of 
Ireland, and of other countries — and when he comes here, he has 
to receive a new education in the principles of government, for 



FRIDAY, JULY p, 1847 367 

what do they know of the experimental — practical policy of our 
government? Now, if it takes a man, as it is said the provision 
in the constitution of the United States presumes, five years to 
become sufficiently acquainted with our government and institu- 
tions, to be entrusted with the privilege of voting, is it unjust or 
unreasonable to require that he shall remain here fifteen years 
before he can be eligible to an office of so much importance as the 
executive of a State. Another thing. He thought the man who 
would be selected to fill this office, should have been here a sufficient 
length of time for the people to know him, to become acquainted 
with his principles, and his character; he might be a man of great 
power of speech, of great conversational powers, of great brilliancy 
of intellect, and the people should have time to see through all 
this, not by a casual view, but by a thorough examination into the 
foundation of his character. That time should be given for the 
first blush of a bright appearance to wear ofi^, and then the people 
to say whether he was worthy of their confidence. 

This, he thought could be accomplished by the amendment he 
would offer. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess- said, he intended to enter 
into no argument upon this subject at the present time. He rose 
now, as he had done at first, to ask the committee, before they 
decide this question, before they commit themselves even upon 
the informal vote here, to pause and reflect, before they 
placed any restriction upon their future action, upon the 
consequences of this proposed change in the old constitution. 
He was in favor of abolishing the restriction of thirty-five years as 
a qualification of the office of governor, and in favor of abolishing 
all and every distinction, now, or at any time, existing between 
the elector and elected. These, sir, are restrictions upon the 
people, they are restrictions upon the right of the people to say 
who shall be their choice to perform the duties of this office. 

He would say that any man at the age of twenty-one years, 
should have full power to do that himself which he is authorized 
to do by an agent. This restriction says he shall not. It says 
that a man can vote for a Governor and shall have the power to 
rule by another, at the age of twenty-one years; but it precludes 
him from doing so, and the people from choosing him to do the 



368 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

same. It says to him you may govern the State by an agent, but 
you shall not govern it yourself. 

He was in favor of destroying and eradicating from the con- 
stitution every restriction upon the free and untrammeled voice 
of the people in the choice of their rulers. But it is said that there 
is great danger of the people selecting a man for Governor, who is 
ignorant, a foreigner, and incompetent to perform the duties 
of the station. This is an un-worthy reflection upon the 
intelligence and capacity of the people. To say that they have 
not intelligence to select men capable and worthy and 
deserving of the office, is, he said, a reflection upon their 
powers of self-government. Why give them the right to 
vote at all, if it was feared they had not the capacity to select? 
It is unjust, too, to the naturalized citizen, to exclude him on 
account of his birth. Shall it be said in this day that a man who 
leaves his native land and the home of his youth— who renounces 
all allegiance to his own and all other foreign princes, potentates 
and powers — who comes here to live in a land of freedom — who 
oflfers himself, and is always ready, to die in the defence of our 
stars and stripes — shall we say that he shall not be entitled to 
enjoy all the rights and privileges of other citizens of our land? 
Mr. C. then alluded to the age required for the office of Governor, 
and opposed it as a restriction upon the voice of the people in the 
choice of their Governor. He advocated that no age should be 
required; but the matter left open to the people. He alluded to 
the great disparity of ages in the members of this Convention — 
to the old and the young — the impetuosity of youth rising in its 
might and struggling for the mastery, and the calm sobriety and 
venerable experience of age — blending together, and displaying 
the same great and correct principles he had been advocating 
when he proposed to open to all, of every age and birth, the rights 
and privileges of citizenship, and leaving the people unrestricted 
in their free choice. 

Mr. BALLINGALL addressed the Convention in favor of the 
amendment; his remarks will probably appear hereafter. 

Mr. HURLBUT said, that like some others who had spoken, 
he did not propose to enter into an argument upon this question, 
but merely to say a few words in reply to those who complained 



FRIDAY, JULY p, 1847 369 

of this section because it was a restriction upon the people. What 
is the restriction upon voters in Illinois? Is it not now a rule that 
no man shall vote till he is twenty-one years of age, and that is a 
restriction upon the right to vote, which he did not suppose gentle- 
men desired to abolish. 

Mr. BALLINGALL said, that at common law the right to 
vote was a privilege secured to a citizen. 

Mr. HURLBUT said, he would like to know if that was the 
common law of Illinois ? He would like to know if foreigners were 
not now allowed to vote and enjoy all the rights of citizenship 
upon a mere twelve months' residence in the State? 

A Member. They are not allowed to sit on juries. 

Mr. HURLBUT. I know they are not called upon to sit on 
juries; jury and militia duties are burdens upon citizens — voting 
is the privilege! — The right to vote is the greatest that can be 
conferred; it is that which makes a man feel that he is a man. In 
rising, he had another object, and that was, to say that a well 
known individual who represented his district in Congress, had 
called him a "Native American," or, at least, certain remarks 
made by him had been wholly misrepresented by some small petty 
representative of a very small man, and the charge was based 
thereon. He was sure that no one who had listened to his remarks 
had discovered in them anything of the kind represented, and he 
would say to the reporters — no, he would excuse the reporters; 
none of them had done it — he would say to the man, be he who he 
may, who panders to that small man, that he was at liberty to 
state anything he thought proper, which he (Mr. H.) had said; 
but that if he undertook to misrepresent, even as humble an indi- 
vidual as himself, he would find he had mistaken his man. 

The question was then taken on the amendment proposed by 
Mr. ScATES, and decided as follows: yeas 74, nays 49. 

Mr. LOGAN moved to add to the section, "and shall have 
been a citizen of the United States for fifteen years. ["] 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery said that he hoped the amend- 
ment just proposed by the member from Sangamon would pass. 
He would like to have this question settled now. Why was there 
so much fear expressed of, and so many warnings against, the 
committee committing themselves by a vote on this question? 



370 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Why are not the members as well prepared to vote and act now 
upon the subject as at any other time? He would always vote 
against anything allowing a foreigner to become Governor of 
Illinois, of being apipointed a judge of a court, or of holding any 
other important post, after having been only five years in the country. 
He was not, as he said before, prejudiced against foreigners, but 
he would always oppose the system pursued by some, of running 
to them the moment they reach our land, and telling them, 
"oh, you understand our laws, you understand our governmen[t], 
you understand our policy, and you know as much about our 
institutions as anybody else, and you must have a vote." Sir, 
they know nothing about our institutions; they are familiar with 
the political government of the land where they spent their school- 
boy days; their minds are stored with recollections and views of 
policy imbibed in foreign lands, and they, when they come here, 
have no true conception of the character of our institutions. How 
can they form an idea of our system of government? They have 
not read our books, they have no knowledge of our customs or 
laws, and in many cases are ignorant of our language. 

We are a progressing people, and our country is fast filling up. 
Now is the time to apply these wholesome restrictions, which will 
prevent citizens — born and reared on the soil— from being excluded 
by foreigners from the enjoyment of these high offices. Shall we 
say that those who framed the constitution of the United States 
were wrong in imposing a restriction in that instrument excluding 
foreigners from holding the two chief offices of the national govern- 
ment? Sir, this Convention has this day, by the vote just taken, 
and by a large majority, said this restriction imposed in the con- 
stitution by the fathers of the country was wrong — all wrong. 
He had no fears of expressing his sentiments. He spoke what he 
believed to be true and correct. He would read to the Conven- 
tion the opinion of Washington on this subject, and upon those 
views he would make no comments, for he believed the die was 
cast; that the question was settled, and he would not be surprised 
if the time was reduced to five years. He then read a letter written 
by Gen. Washington to a Mr. Morris during the war, in relation 
to foreigners, and one from Mr. Jefferson on the same subject. 

He was willing to admit that the circumstances under which 



FRIDAY, JULY 9, 1847 37i 

those letters were written were different from our present. He 
was not a "Native American," but he would say to the Convention 
that the want of such restrictions as is contained in that section 
now upon the table, had been the cause of such a party in our 
country. Foreigners came to our land and remained in our large 
cities; they were seized upon by both parties— whig and democrat 
• — and for the purpose of forwarding the interests of their respective 
parties, were put into high and important offices, to the exclusion 
of free American citizens, and whose every feeling was for their 
country; — this had driven the people in those cities to unite in 
these associations, formed to protect themselves and countrymen 
from the encroachments of the foreigners. He had no personal 
hostility to any foreigners, but he had seen instances of their being 
elevated over the heads of competent Americans and appointed 
to judgeships, and one of these was in his own county. He 
alluded to Judge Koerner — who was the judge in his circuit, 
who was a foreigner, and he alluded to him, not out of any want 
of respect, for he was a gentleman, a sound lawyer, and an honor- 
able man, but he was unable to charge a jury understandingly, 
because his language was so broken and difficult to be understood. 

Mr. BUTLER thought this was a restriction upon the people. 
Gentlemen would liken it to a restriction upon the Legislature, 
but it was very different. The restriction contained in this 
amendment was upon the people themselves, and questioned their 
capability of judging who should have the offices to be received 
at their hands. We might as well say that we should declare in 
this constitution all the qualifications the Governor should possess, 
and we should say whether he must have received a common 
school, an academical, or a collegiate education; whether he should 
have a classical education or not; whether he shall be acquainted 
with Latin or Greek. This rule, sir, would not be more arbitrary 
than that proposed by the gentleman from Sangamon. He thought 
that we should place no restrictions in the constitution, but leave 
the matter with the people. 

Mr. GREEN of Tazewell followed in support of the amend- 
ment. He thought that the restriction of fifteen years upon a 
foreigner was not more oppressive than that placed upon native 



372 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

born citizens, who had to be in the country twenty-one years 
before they could vote. 

Mr. PALMER of Marshall advocated the amendment at 
much length; he took similar views as those presented by those 
who had preceded him. 

Mr. GEDDES repeated the views expressed by him earlier 
in the debate. 

Mr. ARCHER was opposed to the amendment proposed by 
the gentleman from Sangamon. He took the same view of it as 
others who had declared it to be a restriction upon the elective 
franchise of the people. He had no sort of doubt of the capability 
of the people to exercise that right, and was opposed to any pro- 
vision restricting it, in the least particular, as he believed it would 
be safe in their hands, and that the better course for the Conven- 
tion would be to leave the matter entirely with them. 

He had no great love for foreigners. He was an American by 
birth, but he had always been proud to believe that the institu- 
tions of his country afforded a home for the opressed of all lands 
without distinction. He thought that the land of a man's birth 
was not the test of his right to the privilege of citizenship, but that 
merit was the true test to be applied to him. He had no desire 
to dwell upon the acts of foreigners who had taken an active part 
in our revolution, nor of the many who had rendered such valuable 
service, but he would say that he had never heard of an adopted 
citizen betraying his country, or of any act unworthy of a citizen. 
He did not desire that offices should be open to them as soon as 
they arrive in this country, but when they had renounced their 
allegiance to other powers, and had remained here for the 
term of five years, and complied with all the requirements which 
Congress, in their wisdom, had provided as necessary for them to 
become citizens, he desired then to see them become citizens with 
all the rights and privileges of citizenship without any restrictions 
or distinctions, It had been said that they came to this country 
with recollections of their native land fresh in their mind, and that 
their views and sentiments are influenced by associations of what 
they had experienced there. He thought this was true in one 
sense. They do come here with a vivid recollection of the land 
where they have been oppressed, and minds well calculated to 



FRIDAY, JULY 9, 1847 373 

appreciate the freedom of our laws and the beauty of our institu- 
tions, because of the associations of government and tyranny they 
have experienced at home. The amendment would establish that 
the land of a man's birth, not the man, should be the test by which 
he should be judged. It had well been said, that a man who had 
just arrived here, unknown to the people, ignorant or unqualified, 
would not be selected by the people for the office of Governor. 
Public jealousy, distrust of strangers, will always excite a scrutiny 
into the character of any man offering himself for that office, and 
no danger need be felt that they would select such a person for 
that important office. 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin advocated the adoption of the 
amendment. He was opposed to the section as it first was report- 
ed; but thought that the restriction of fifteen years upon a foreigner 
before he could hold the office of Governor was not too great. He 
thought those who denounced all restrictions upon the right to 
vote and hold office had gone too far. There were restrictions 
upon the ladies, precluding them from the enjoyment of these 
rights, and he did not think it was proposed by any to remove 
them. He thought that the period of five years fixed in the con- 
stitution, as the time for a foreigner to reside in this country, had 
been fixed as a period in which he might become acquainted with 
our language; and did not believe that fifteen years was too long 
a term for him to acquire a knowledge of the complicated machin- 
ery of our system of government. He thought that the privilege 
of living under the government of the United States, and enjoying 
the rights and privileges of a citizen of a free republic, should be 
sufficient for any foreigner, without the right to hold office.'* 

'*The following correction was printed in the weekly Register, July 30: 
Springfield, July 27, 1847. 
' ' Editors of the Register: 

In the report in your paper of the 13th inst. of my remarks upon the 
amendment offered by Mr. Logan to the report of the committee on the 
Executive Department, by which fifteen years' citizenship is required to 
render a foreigner eligible to the office of Governor, I am made to say in the 
report, that 'the privilege of living under the government of the United States, 
and of enjoying the rights of a citizen of a free republic, should be sufficient 
for any foreigner, without the right to hold office.' 

The report is incorrect. My language on that occasion was: 'Even 
without the privilege of holding office, foreigners gain immensely by their 
immigration to this country. Here they live under free and equal laws, rnay 
easily acquire an interest in the soil, and can participate in the power belonging 



374 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

We have given the above positions of Mr. P., as they are some- 
what different from those advanced on the same side, and must 
offer as an apology for this brief allusion to his remarks, the crowd- 
ed state of our columns. 

[Mr. TURNBULL said that the gentlemen who were opposed 
to the amendment of the gentleman from Sangamon, (Logan) 
from their remarks appear to be in favor of making foreigners 
eligible to the office of Governor as soon as they are entitled to a 
vote, while they are for preventing the people from electing a 
native-born citizen until he has. exercised the right of voting for 
fourteen years to that high office. I ask gentlemen, who are 
opposed to the amendment, how they will answer to the people of 
this State, or to the world, for requiring fourteen years of a native 
born citizen — one who has imbibed the first principles of freedom 
and republicanism from his mother, after he is entitled to a vote 
before he is eligible for the office of Governor — and make the for- 
eigner eligible for that high office as soon as he is entitled to a vote? 
Mr. President, I shall vote for the amendment of the gentleman 
from Sangamon, which requires fifteen years residence in the 
United States after he is entitled to a vote, before the foreigner 
is eligible for the office of Governor.]^^ 

Mr. PRATT resumed the subject and spoke at much length 
against the amendment and against the restriction upon the 
selection of a young man for the office. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess moved the committee rise. 

And the committee rose, reported progress, and asked leave 
to sit again. Granted. 

And then, on motion, the Convention adjourned. 

in monarchies to kingS' — a voice in the government of a great people; and 
when to this is superadded the fact that, by waiting for a reasonable term 
until they can acquire a knowledge of the construction of our complicated 
system of government, they may then aspire to the highest offices in the gift 
of the people. It seems to me that this amendment should satisfy them; and 
under this view, I shall vote; and by such of my constituents as are foreigners, 
I am willing to be judged.' 

Yours, &c., 

John M. Palmer." 

^'TumbuU's remarks are taken from the Sangamo Journal, July IS. 



XXVIII. SATURDAY, JULY lo, 1847 

Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Hale. 

The Convention resolved itself into committee of the whole — 
Mr. Grain in the chair, and resumed the consideration of the 
report of the committee on the Executive Department. 

The question pending was on the amendment of Mr. Logan, 
which was modified by him to read "fourteen" instead of "fif- 
teen" years, and being take[n] was decided in the affirmative. 

Mr.MARKLEY gave notice of a motion to reconsider the vote. 

Sec. 5. The Governor shall, at stated times, receive for his 
services the sum of twelve hundred and fifty dollars per annum; 
which shall neither be increased nor diminished (during the period 
for which he shall have been elected;) and he shall not receive, 
within that period, any other emolument from the United States 
or any of them. 

Mr. SHUMWAY moved to strike out "^1,250" and insert 
"? 1,000." 

Mr. CROSS of Winnebago moved to amend the amendment by 
striking out "|i,ooo" and inserting — two dollars a day for the 
first forty-two days, and one dollar a day, for each days actual 
service thereafter; which amendment was carried; and the 
question being taken on the amendment as amended it was 
decided in the negative. 

Mr. KNAPP of Jersey offered the following as a substitute for 
the section: 

"That the Governor shall receive the sum of fifteen hundred 
dollars per annum, for his services as Governor, and which sum 
shall not be increased nor diminished." 

Mr. DALE moved, as an amendment to the amendment, to 
strike out "fifteen hundred dollars," and insert "one thousand." 

In presenting the amendment Mr. D. said, that it behooved us, 

in view of the present pecuniary embarrassments of the State, 

to study economy — to introduce it into every department of 

government — and to act with an eye to it, in all our proceedings. 

375 



376 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

The people have clamored loudly, and with justice, against the 
heavy expenses of government; and gentlemen, here, would bear 
him out in the assertion, that, whilst we had a soil which yielded 
its fruits with less of labor and toil of man than did the same 
amount of territory anywhere else; whils[t], too, our harvests 
were, generally, very abundant, and our farms daily improving 
and presenting new beauties to the eye, yet, that the citizen, the 
tiller of the soil, did not exhibit that cheerfulness and contentment 
which these outward appearances would seem to indicate and to 
justify. The citizen was not entirely satisfied with the adminis- 
tration of his government — he complained that it was an expensive 
one — that notwithstanding a heavy debt hung over the State 
which was not, in any material degree, being reduced, yet that 
the taxes of his labor increased and were increasing on him from 
year to year — he believed and held that a frugal people, who were 
chiefly agriculturists, and whose wealth was dug, by the labor of 
their hands, from the earth, should have an efficient government 
but a frugal and economical one. To effect reforms which should 
insure such a government, was a consideration with the people 
in calling this Convention. In curtailing expenses he was pleased 
to say that thus far our action had come up to the views and 
expectations of the people. The expenses of a State census is to 
be saved by adopting the census taken by the U. S. government; 
elections are designed to be held in November and thus the neces- 
sity for two elections in a year avoided; the legislative session 
is limited and the pay of members is reduced and thus this heavy 
item in former appropriations, will henceforward be comparatively, 
a light one. Let the same reform be carried into every department 
— our circumstances call for rigid economy — the credit of the 
State demands it. 

If, then, the experience of other States has shown that the 
office of Governor can be filled consistently with the public 
interest — can be well filled — at an expense less than that proposed 
by the resolution, the people will hold us answerable if we do not 
profit by that experience. 

The State of Ohio, with a population double that of this State, 
allows to her Governor a salary of one thousand dollars; New 
Hampshire the same amount; Vermont seven hundred and fifty 



SATURDAY, JULY lo, 1847 377 

dollars; Rhode Island four hundred dollars. If, in these States, 
where wealth and luxuriance abound, and some of which are free 
of debt, these sums are considered compensation, might they not 
well be considered such in this agricultural State — this State of 
simple manners and frugal habits? 

He was disposed to allow the holders of the office of honor 
little more than a plain citizen required for the support of himself 
and family. The amendment, however, offered by him proposed 
an allowance equal to that reported by the committee as a salary 
for the Auditor. This ought to be sufficient. For a house is 
provided by the State for the Governor — none for the Auditor — 
the office of Auditor, too, is one of more labor and less honor. 
The argument that the Governor must have his levees and give 
his dinners might be a consideration to be entertained if the State 
were differently circumstanced, but should not while she continues 
in her present embarrassed condition. These things are not abso- 
lutely necessary, and if agreeable to the feelings of the Governor 
or any citizen let them be done at their private expense, not at the 
expense of the public. 

Under these reductions of salaries and other expenses, the 
condition of the treasury would improve. Auditor's warrants 
would no longer be discounted and shaved and hawked about in 
search of buyers — ^jobs to be done for the State would not longer 
be contracted for at the present ruinous rates to which the State 
is forced, by reason of her paying in miserably depreciated war- 
rants of the Auditor. These moderate salaries too will make it 
the object and the interest of officers and legislators to give 
an eye to the finances of the State and provide against any depre- 
ciation of her paper in the future. 

But a great gain to the State from this reduction in the salaries 
of officers" and pay of members of the Legislature will be in this, 
that the compensation allowed to them will form a standard of 
value, and that, in all contracts made by them in behalf of the 
State with agents, commissioners &c., the sums agreed to be paid 
for services will be regulated by this standard — the compensation 
which members and officers themselves receive. Countenance 
extravagance in them, by .giving them large salaries and 
this extravagance will characterize all their appropriations and all 



378 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

contracts made by them for the State. Make, however, the pay 
of members of the Legislature such as has, here, been voted for 
them, and the salary of Governor such as proposed by the amend- 
ment, and there will be an end to these extravagant expenditures- 
of which our books are so full — an end to the exorbitant pay of 
former years, such, for instance as has been given to agents 
to select lands given to the State by the General Government, to 
agents to protect canal lands &c., there will be an end to this 
eternal speculation on the State. 

Mr. THOMPSON opposed the reduction. 

Mr. WEAD said, his vote upon the sum to be allowed the 
Governor would depend entirely upon the duties which would be 
assigned him in this constitution; and he would, also, like to 
know whether it was intended that the Governor should reside at 
the seat of government — which in his opinion was an important 
consideration. The present Governor is, also, fund commissioner, 
and before he could vote to fix the salary of the office, he would 
like those questions to be answered. Fifteen hundred dollars a 
year was not too much for the office, if the Governor was compelled 
to reside here. If allowed to remain at his home, so large a 
salary was not needed. In the eastern States, in Massachusetts, 
New Hampshire — certainly in Vermont, the Governor was not 
required to reside at the seat of government, and that accounted 
for the small salaries allowed them. The Governor who is com- 
pelled to reside at the seat of government was, in a great measure, 
obliged to keep an open house, for members of the Legislature, to 
receive strangers, and was to some extent the official organ of 
the State. He wolild be obliged to neglect his own business at 
home, and devote himself entirely to public business, while if at 
home, he could attend to his ordinary business without any pecu- 
niary loss. He could see no necessity for our providing that the 
Governor should reside here, and thought that by attending here 
occasionally, at the time of the meeting of the General Assembly, 
that the duties of the office could be administered as well. He 
would vote for the $1,500. 

Mr. ARCHER was in favor of allowing a good salary to the 
Governor and having him reside at the seat of government. 

Mr. LOGAN was like the gentleman from Fulton, unable to 



SATURDAY, JULY lo, 1847 379 

vote upon this question until he knew what duties the Governor 
would be required to perform. He was in favor of the fifteen 
hundred a year. 

Mr. PALMER of Marshall was in favor of the sum reported 
by the committee — say twelve hundred and fifty dollars a year, and 
thought that quite sufficient. He alluded to the State of Indiana 
where he had resided a number of years, and where the salaries 
of the Governor and the judges were very low. 

Mr. BOND was in favor of the one thousand dollars a year. 

The question being on Mr. Dale's amendment to strike out 
^1,500 and insert one thousand, the question was divided; and 
being taken on striking out was decided in the affirmative — yeas 
86, nays not counted; and then being taken on inserting, was 
decided in the negative — yeas 44, nays not counted. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess oflFered the following as a 
substitute for the amendment of Mr. Knapp, to strike out the 
original section and insert- — " the Governor shall reside at the seat 
of government, and receive at stated times, as a salary for his 
services, the sum of two thousand dollars per annum, which shall 
not be increased nor diminished; and shall be ex officio fund 
commissioner." 

In offering the above, he explained the many duties which the 
Governor would be obliged to perform. He was obliged to be at 
the seat of government, as duties required the actual presence of 
the Governor every day. Requisitions from other States for 
persons charged with crime, were coming here, and the Governor 
and he alone was obliged to act upon it; for they required his 
personal action upon them. He was to decide upon their legality 
and could not delegate the power to do so to any other individual. 
They were cases requiring the exercise of his own judgment, and 
unless he were here to attend to them, the parties would have to 
hunt him up in all parts of the State, and the end of justice would 
be defeated by the escape of the accused. The same would apply 
to petitions for pardons, requiring an exercise of power, judgment 
and discretion which could not be delegated to any other person. 

He alluded to the fact that no man of any ability could be 
selected to fill the office at one thousand dollars a year, and it was 
not to be expected that the Governor was to live in a style beneath 



38o ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the dignity of the post, and in a way that he otherwise would not. 
Something must be allowed for the refinements of mind: something 
must be allowed to the accomplishments of thought, for they con- 
stitute the only aristocracy in the land, and they ought to be 
encouraged. He said, that a man chosen to be Governor of the 
State, would occupy a post where such things would be looked 
for, and there should be an allowance for something more than 
for the level of society. True these accomplishments of the mind, 
the aristocracy of intellect, were open to all, and should deserve 
our encouragement, but are we to erect toll gates upon the road 
to preferment through which they were to go? It should be 
recollected that a man gave up all other business to attend to the 
office of Governor — and had he a family, had children to educate — 
how could it be done with such a pittance? He had a right to 
educate his children and it should be every delegate's ambition 
to place it in the power of every man to give his children an edu- 
cation equal to their standing. He (Mr. C.) had lived here 
at $i,ooo for four years — that is he did'nt live at all. He had 
^i,ooo for two years, and then was cut down to J8oo, and he could 
speak from experience that the salary was not sufficient to afford 
a man a living. He had remained here four years in office, and 
went home poorer than when he came; he went home and found 
himself out of business, his clients all gone, other lawyers had 
taken them, and he found himself like [a] young man just starting in 
the world; and now was forced to commence anew, to go to work 
at his profession to support himself and family. Mr. C. followed 
the subject much further and concluded by remarking, that if 
they allowed picayune salaries they must expect picayune officers 
— if dollar salaries dollar officers. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery replied, and in the course of his 
remarks, reminded the committee that at the last session of the Leg- 
islature there were a number of candidates hanging round the 
Legislature for a vacant judgeship, and the salaries were then but 
?i,ooo; and no sooner were they elected, than they crowded the 
lobbies and commenced begging the Legislature to increase their 
salaries, saying they could not live on one thousand — that they 
had families to support and children to educate. Nothing of this, 
however, was heard when they were candidates; they were willing 



SATURDAY, JULY lo, 1847 381 

then to have the office at one thousand a year. He opposed any 
sum over that proposed by the committee, and would vote for 
that all through. 

Mr. LOGAN advocated an increase to fifteen hundred dollars, 
as nothing more than a fair and reasonable compensation. He 
thought the effect of reducing the salary to one thousand, would be 
to give the office entirely to men who were rich, and who could 
afford to live even without the salary. He found it difficult even 
for him to live here on one thousand a year. He said that when 
the salary was at one thousand, they had Gov. Duncan, one of 
the wealthiest men in the State; Gov. Reynolds another. Gov. 
Edwards and Gov. Coles, both rich men, and all of whom could 
afford to live as Governor of the State without reference at all to 
the salary. He alluded to the difficulties attending the adminis- 
tration of affairs, if the Governor resided elsewhere than at the 
seat of government, and thought the proposed saving, by allowing 
him to reside at home, would be of more expense to the people 
having business to transact with him, and which required his atten- 
dance, would be more than the proposed increase. He thought it 
was poor economy; it was spoiling a knife worth twenty-five cents 
to skin a flint not worth a farthing. 

Mr. GREEN of Taz[e]well said, that when the section had 
been proposed he thought it perfectly proper; then came the 
amendments, and he had watched to see who were in favor of 
amending; then he had endeavored to satisfy himself as to the 
motives inducing them to propose the amendments. And although 
it was not proper at all times to allude to motives of gentlemen, 
he hoped he would be pardoned in stating what had been his 
impressions. He had looked around at those who had proposed 
the increase, and had come to the conclusion that they all had a 
sly notion that at some time or another, they would be called upon 
to occupy the office, the salary of which we were now about to fix. 
This was more evident to his mind, from the fact, that his friend 
from Sangamon and his friend from Clinton, whose chances were 
very desperate and the probability very slight, proposed only the 
moderate increase of two hundred and fifty dollars; but the gen- 
tleman from Jo Daviess, whose chances were fair, who was on the 
right side, and who had the start of his competitors, had stopped 



382 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

at nothing short of two thousand dollars. Now, he was very 
willing to oblige these gentlemen, but he felt he owed a duty to 
the State, which was much embarrassed and in debt, and he could 
not vote to increase the salary, particularly as he felt sure, from 
the patriotism of the gentlemen, that when the State could not 
get along without them, that they would generally give her their 
services at one thousand per annum. 

Mr. HOGUE moved the committee rise, &c., which motion 
was carried, and the chairman reported and asked leave to sit 
again. Granted. 

Mr. SCATES suggested to the members the propriety of re- 
maining in the hall after the adjournment, to make arrangements 
about attending the funeral of Col. Hardin; and as the committees 
desired to have a meeting that afternoon, he moved the Conven- 
tion adjourn till Monday at 9 a. m. 
Carried. 



XXIX. MONDAY, JULY 12, 1847 

Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Palmer of Marshall. 

Mr. LOCKWOOD presented certain propositions in relation 
to the redemption of land sold for taxes, which he said he would 
call up at some other time. 

Mr. HURLBUT moved that it be laid on the table, and 200 
copies be ordered to be printed. Ordered. 

Mr. SCATES, from the committee on the Judiciary made a 
report. 

Mr. MARKLEY moved that 200 copies be printed. Ordered. 

Mr. SCATES, from the same committee, reported back sundry 
resolutions, and asked to be discharged from the further consider- 
ation thereof. Granted. 

Mr. DAVIS of Massac presented a report of the minority of 
the Judiciary committee. Two hundred copies ordered to be 
printed. 

Mr. CAMPBELLof Jo Daviess moved a call of the Convention, 
and 124 members answered to their names; and then further pro- 
ceedings were dispensed with. 

Leave of absence was granted to Messrs. Kreider, Sharpe, 
Morris and Miller. 

Mr. HURLBUT, from the Judiciary committee, reported 
certain additional sections to be added to those reported by the 
committee on the Judiciary. 

Mr. ROUNTREE offered a substitute. 

Mr. SCATES moved they be laid on the table, and 200 copies 
of each be printed. Carried. 

Mr. DAWSON offered a resolution that a majority of the Con- 
vention shall constitute a quorum to do business, till the 20th, and 
that hereafter that no member shall have leave of absence, unless 
on account of sickness. 

Mr. SCATES moved that the Convention resolve itself into 
committee of the whole. Carried, and Mr. Crain took the Chair. 

The committee resumed the consideration of the report of the 
383 



384 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Executive committee. The question pending was on the substi- 
tute for Section 5, offered by Mr. Campbell of Jo Daviess. 

Mr. LOCKWOOD made a few remarks in favor of the Gover- 
nor being required to remain at the seat of Government during his 
term of office. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess pointed out the vast difference 
in effect between the reduction of the pay of the members of the 
Legislature and that of the Governor. In the former case, they 
were called here in the winter season, when farmers could lose no 
crop, when lawyers could attend the supreme court at the same 
time, and when, from the shortness of the session, no person's 
business would be injured or neglected; while the Governor was 
obliged to sell out his furniture at home; give up all his business, — 
if a farmer, rent his farm — if a lawyer, lose all his clients, and be 
here four years, entirely cut off from any other business. He 
thought the reduction of the salary to ? 1,000 would have the effect 
of excluding all poor men from the office, and secure it to the rich; 
that the State would be deprived of the talents which poverty 
possesses, and have rich men for Governors though they were 
stupid and incompetent. 

Mr. PINCKNEY thought that $2,000 was extravagant, and 
would vote for $1,500 a year as the salary of the Governor. 

Mr. McCALLEN thought the discussion upon the salary was 
premature. He would like to know what duties were to be re- 
quired of the officer, and whether he would be required to reside 
here, before he could vote upon the amount of his salary. If the 
office was to be a mere nominal one, one of empty title only, 
$500 would be sufficient, but if required to reside here, and give 
up all his other business, and devote himself to the duties of his 
office, $2,000 was nothing more than a fair remuneration. He was 
of opinion that the effect of allowing but a small salary would 
be to deprive every poor man in the State of the privilege of hold- 
ing the office, and to raise up an aristocracy of wealth which it 
was our policy to oppose. 

Mr. PALMER of Marshall advocated the amount proposed 
by the committee — $1,250. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess modified his substitute by 
leaving the amount of salary blank; and it was then adopted. 



MONDAY, JULY 12, 184.7 385 

Mr. WEST supported $1,500 as a proper sum. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess said, that at the suggestion 
of his friend from Madison he would move to fill the blank with 
1 1, 500. 

Mr. SCATES opposed the amendment as an unnecessary ex- 
travagance, in the present circumstances of the State; and was of 
opinion that the proper inquiry was, what sum was necessary to 
enable a man to live comfortably and well, and not what was re- 
quired to enable him to live extravagantly. — The State should 
allow her Governor a sum sufficient to support him while in office, 
and no more; he did not think he should be paid for his services. 
He had made inquiries, and was informed that his friend from 
Sangamon, (Mr. Edwards) who, as everyone was aware, lived 
well, gave the most elegant and sumptuous entertainments, and 
whose house was always open to the members of the Legislature 
and strangers, had said that his expenses did not exceed $1,200 a 
year. Upon this sum, said Mr. S., I think the Governor may live 
comfortably and well, and I do not think that any one who may 
hold the office will desire to exceed in comfort and hospitality the 
gentleman from Sangamon. 

Mr. THOMAS moved to fill the blank with "two thousand 
dollars;" and, on a division, the motion was lost. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess said, that he would like to ask 
the gentleman from Jefferson, if he, when he was receiving fifteen 
hundred dollars a year as judge of the Supreme Court, succeeded 
in laying up a large sum of money? Did he complain that that 
pay was too large, too extravagant? If there were any such com- 
plaints made, he (Mr. C.) never heard of them; but he had, when 
the salary was at one thousand, heard them declare from their 
seats that it was impossible for them to live at that pay and sup- 
port their families. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery replied, that the judges were 
obliged to be absent from their families for nine months in the 
year; that they were obliged to pay tavern bills, when board was 
at one dollar to one dollar and fifty cents a day, and that their 
expenses were such that one thousand dollars was not sufficient. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Sangamon said, that he was sorry his name 
had been introduced, as the remark had been made by him with- 



386 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

out any intention to have it bear upon the question. He would 
say, however, that he could live on the sum stated, but then he 
was at home, his house was furnished, and he would not be obliged 
to break up his household and furnish a new one, as would be the 
case of a Governor who came here from another part of the State. 
As to the hospitality which the Governor would be obliged to show, 
and the open house for strangers and members of the Legislature, 
he did not think this should have any weight upon the question. 
Past experience, and he made the remark in no spirit of unkindness 
or of personal application, had clearly satisfied him that it could 
be dispensed with. Not one of the State officers who had resided 
here for years past, with the exception of Mr. Walters, ever had 
shown any hospitality to strangers or members of the Legislature, 
or had kept an open house, such as spoken of by gentlemen. 
Moreover, he was informed that the present Governor rents out 
the house provided for him by the State, and has the amount of 
the rent deducted from his board. He thought the sum proposed 
by the committee sufficient. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess said, that the reason he gave 
no parties, nor kept an open house while he was a State officer, was 
that the State did not allow him enough to do so with. 

Mr. EDWARDS said, he did not refer to the gentleman; his 
well known spirit of hospitality and friendship satisfied all that it 
was not his fault, if he was not generous. 

The question was taken on the motion to insert $i,ooo, and 
result yeas 55, nays 62. Some misunderstanding having existed 
in relation to the vote, a recount was had, and resulted yeas 53, 
nays 63, and the motion was lost. 

Mr. McCALLEN moved to amend by inserting, " the office of 
Governor shall be let to the lowest responsible bidder." 

Mr. GEDDES moved to fill the blank with $1,250. 

Mr. NORTON proposed $1,400. 

Mr. KNOWLTON proposed $1,450, and the question being 
taken on the $1,400, it was decided in the negative — yeas 38, 
nays 71. The question was taken on $1,450, and resulted yeas 
28, nays 70; no quorum. A motion was made that the committee 
rise, and decided in the negative— and then the amendment was 
lost. The question was taken on inserting $1,250, and resulted. 



MONDAY, JULY 12, 1847 387 

yeas 83, nays 22; no quorum. And then, on motion, the commit- 
tee rose, and asked leave to sit again. Granted. 
On motion the Convention adjourned till 3 p. m. 

AFTERNOON 

Mr. SHUMWAY moved a call of the Convention, and the 
Convention was called, and 99 members answered to their names; 
after some delay a quorum appeared. 

Mr. LOCKWOOD moved to take up the resolution which had 
been laid on the table in the morning, providing that a majority 
shall constitute a quorum — yeas 41, nays 40, no quorum. A 
second vote was taken, yeas 56, nays 49; no quorum. The yeas 
and nays were ordered, and the question was decided in the nega- 
tive — yeas 41, nays 71. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess moved the Convention ad- 
journ. Lost. 

Mr. AIKEN offered the following: 

Whereas, Mr. Hale, in a sermon on the nth day of July, in 
the 2d Presbyterian Church, denounced the existing war with Mexico, 
as being unjust; and whereas, such declarations ought not to be 
tolerated, more especially in a republican government; and 
whereas, it is unbecoming in a Minister of the Gospel, to use such 
language in [a] Gospel sermon, or before the young and rising genera- 
tion, therefore; 

Resolved, That said Mr. Hale be excused from holding prayers 
in this Convention for the future. 

Mr. CROSS of Winnebago moved to lay it on the table. 
Yeas 71, nays 23: no quorum. The yeas and nays were ordered 
and resulted — yeas 82, nays 36. 

Mr. LOCKWOOD offered a resolution that a majority of the 
Convention shall be a quorum to do business till the 20th inst. 
Yeas 45; nays not counted. Lost. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess moved that the Rev. Mr. Hale 
be excused from praying in this Convention for the future. Mr. 
C. said that so far as Mr. Hale was personally concerned^he felt 
kindly toward him, but he objected to any man speaking of those 
who had gone forth to fight the battles of their country as a moral 
pest to society. 



388 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. TURNBULL asked if Mr. C. had heard him say so. Mr. 
C. repHed he had not. Mr. T. then said that second-hand evi- 
dence was inadmissable anywhere. 

~ Mr. HATCH said, that he was present at the delivery of the 
sermon and heard the words repeated, and he was ready to sustain 
what had been said by the gentleman from Jo Daviess. He was 
particular in noticing the language used. 

Mr. WEST said, that he was present and heard the sermon 
alluded to, and he had understood it differently. Mr. Hale had 
used words of that kind, but not without a qualification, and said 
there were many honorable exceptions. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess. Honorable exceptions in a 
body of men who had perilled their lives in a defence of their 
country! Worse than the other. 

Mr. WEST. He said exceptions amongst the volunteers. 

Mr. CAMPBELL. Well, honorable exceptions amongst those 
who had battled in the cause of their country! 

Mr. SINGLETON said, that in order to obtain information of 
what Mr. Hale had really said, and to enable him to defend 
himself, he would move to lay the subject on the table. Carried. 

Mr. KNAPP of Scott offered the following resolution: 

Resolved, That the Convention highly appreciate the services 
of the volunteers, both officers and privates, of this State, who have 
perilled their lives in the cause of our common country in the war 
with Mexico, that their fame is established upon an immovable 
basis, far above the reach of calumny, having earned for them- 
selves a character that needs no vindication, and which cannot be 
impaired by detraction. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess moved to add to the resolu- 
tion the following: "And this Convention highly deprecate all 
reflections upon the character of the volunteers, coming from the 
pulpit or any other source." 

On this resolution and amendment a debate ensued, in which 
Messrs. Deitz, Campbell of Jo Daviess, Pinckney, and Davis 
of Montgomery participated. 

Mr. LOGAN moved to insert after the word "character," in 
the amendment, the words "for courage or patriotism." And 



MONDAY, JULY 12, 1847 389 

the question being taken thereon, it was decided in the negative; 
and then the amendment of Mr. Campbell was adopted. 

Mr. PALMER of Macoupin offered a preamble and resolution, 
as a substitute. The preamble contained a recital of the general 
principles set forth in the constitution of the United States, and 
the resolution disclaimed any power to control an expression of 
opinion by any person. 

The debate was resumed and continued by Messrs. Archer, 
McCallen, Servant, Logan, Palmer, and Campbell of Jo 
Daviess. 

Mr. Campbell of Jo Daviess moved to lay the substitute on 
the table. 

Mr. Palmer of Macoupin moved to lay the whole subject on 
the table. The question was divided and taken first by yeas and 
nays on laying Mr. P.'s resolution on the table — yeas 60, nays 54. 

Then on laying the preamble on the table — yeas 9, nays 102. 

Mr. MARKLEY moved to refer the preamble to the commit- 
tee on Bill of Rights. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Sangamon raised a point of order — could 
the preamble be so referred? 

After argument in opposition to the order of the motion by 
Mr. Casey and Mr. Logan, the Chair decided the motion to be 
in order. 

Mr. SERVANT moved to lay the motion of reference on the 
table — yeas 53, nays 44. No quorum. 

Mr. GEDDES moved the Convention adjourn till Thursday 
at 3 p. m. — yeas 41, nays 51. Lost. 

The motion to lay the reference on the table was then put 
again and carried. 

The question was then put on the substitute, (the preamble) 
and resulted yeas 44, nays 50. No quorum voting. 

Mr. CAMPBELL of Jo Daviess moved the Convention adjourn 
till Thursday at 3 p. m. 

Mr. BOND moved the Convention adjourn sine die — ayes 
aad noes demanded, and then the motion was withdrawn. 

Mr. WHITESIDE moved the Convention adjourn for two 
weeks. 



390 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. CAMPBELL of McDonough moved the Convention 
adjourn till the 15th of November. 

Mr. BOND renewed his motion to adjourn sine die; the ayes 
and noes were demanded and ordered. 

Mr. Z. CASEY appealed to the gentlemen to withdraw their 
motions, and to the Convention to proceed with the business for 
which they had been sent. He deprecated the great waste of 
time, and earnestly hoped that we would proceed to business. 

Messrs. WHITESIDE, BOND, CAMPBELL of McDonough, 
severally, withdrew their motions, and the Convention, in order 
to attend the funeral of Col. Hardin, at Jacksonville, on Wednesday, 
adjourned till T[h]ursday at 3 p. m. 



XXX. THURSDAY, JULY 15, 1847 

The Convention, pursuant to adjournment, met at 3 p. m. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery said, there was apparently no 
quorum present, and probably there was not in town. He, there- 
fore, moved' the Convention adjourn till to-morrow at eight o'clock; 
and the question being taken on the motion, was decided in the 
negative. 

Mr. PETERS moved a call of the house; and it was ordered. 

The Convention was called, and after the absentees had been 
called again, a quorum appeared. 

Mr. Z. CASEY moved that all further proceedings under the 
call be dispensed with. Carried. 

Mr. Z. CASEY moved the Convention resolve itself into com- 
mittee of the whole, and the Convention did resolve itself into 
committee of the whole — Mr. Crain in the chair, and resumed the 
consideration of the report of the committee on the Executive 
Department. 

The question pending, was on filling the blank, in the substi- 
tute proposed by Mr. Campbell of Jo Daviess for the fifth section, 
with the sum of ^1,250, (annual salary of the Governor;) and the 
vote being taken thereon, it was decided in the affirmative. 

The section was then passed over informally for the present. 
Sections 6 and 7 were passed without amendment. 

Sec. 8. The Governor shall have power to grant reprieves, 
commutations, and pardons, after conviction, for all offences 
except treason and cases of impeachment, upon such conditions 
and with such restrictions and limitations as he may think proper, 
subject to such regulations as may be provided by law relative to 
the manner of applying for pardons. Upon conviction for treason, 
he shall have power to suspend the execution of the sentence until 
the case shall be reported to the General Assembly at its next 
meeting; when the General Assembly shall either pardon the 
convict or commute the sentence, direct the execution of the sen- 
tence, or grant a further reprieve. He shall, biennially, communi- 
391 



392 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

cate to the General Assembly each case of reprieve, commutation, 
or pardon granted; stating the name of the convict, the crime for 
which he was convicted, the sentence and its date, and the date 
of commutation, pardon, or reprieve. 

Mr. PETERS offered to amend. After "applying for par- 
dons," at the end of first sentence, insert, "and he shall also have 
power to grant pardons after indictments found, and before trial, 
and conviction, whenever the judge or judges of the court, wherein 
the indictment shall be pending, shall recommend to him to grant 
such pardon;" which amendment was adopted. 

Mr. KNAPP of Scott moved to insert after the word "date" 
where it first occurs, the words, "and his reasons for granting such 
pardons." 

Mr. HARDING offered as a substitute for the amendment: 
"and at the time of such pardon he shall publish at large his reasons 
for granting the same;" which substitute was rejected. 

And the question being taken on the amendment, it resulted, 
yeas 37, nays 59 — no quorum voting. And a second vote being 
taken, it stood, yeas 35, nays 70 — no quorum voting. And the 
committee rose and reported that fact to the Convention. 

Mr. THOMAS moved a call of the Convention. Ordered, 
and a quorum responded to their names. The Convention then 
resolved itself into committee of the whole again, and the vote 
being taken on the amendment, it was decided in the negative. 

Mr. HARDING renewed his substitute as an amendment, 
and the same was again rejected. 

Mr. TURNBULL moved to strike out the words "biennially to 
the General Assembly" and insert "publish in the several papers 
published at the seat of government." Messrs. Archer and 
Davis of Montgomery opposed the amendment and Mr. Consta- 
ble advocated its adoption. 

The question being taken, the amendment was rejected. 

Mr. McCALLEN moved to amend by inserting after "treason" 
the word "murder." 

He said, that when the report of the Judiciary committee came 
before the Convention, he intended, if none else did, to move the 
abolition of capital punishment, and the object of this amendment 
was to meet that proposition. He desired that when a man was 



THURSDAY, JULY 15, 1847 393 

convicted of murder, that he should not be hung, and at the same 
time he wished to place him beyond the reach of the pardoning 
power, by the Governor. 

Mr. KINNEY of Bureau opposed the amendment briefly. 

The question being taken on the amendment it was decided in 
the negative. 

Sec. 9 was passed without amendment. 

Sec. 10. He may, on extraordinary occasions, convene the 
General Assembly by proclamation, and shall state to them, when 
assembled, the purpose for which they shall have been convened; 
and the General Assembly shall be limited in their action to such 
matters only as the Governor shall lay before them. 

Mr. PETERS moved to add at the end of the section: "Ex- 
cept at such special session trials of cases of impeachment may 
be had, and removals from office made in the manner provided in 
the consdtution." 

And the question being taken thereon, the same was rejected. 

Mr. SCATES moved to insert after "occasions" the following: 
"which would cause great and irremediable injury by delay;" and, 
on a division the amendment was lost. 

Mr. THORNTON moved to strike out all after the words, 
"the general assembly shall," and insert "enter upon no legislative 
business except that for which they were specially called." 

Mr. CHURCHILL offered the following as an amendment to 
the amendment: strike out all after the word "proclamation," and 
insert, "the general assembly, when so convened, shall have the 
same power, and be liable to the same restrictions as in a regular 
session." 

And the question being taken thereon, the same was rejected. 
The question recurring upon the amendment of Mr. Thornton, it 
resulted, yeas 43, nays 60; no quorum voting. A second vote 
was taken, and the amendment lost — yeas 42, nays 68. 

Mr. McCALLEN moved to strike out all after "proclama- 
tion." 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery moved to strike out all after 
"convened;" which was accepted by Mr. McC. as a modification 
of his amendment. 



394 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. CONSTABLE moved the committee rise, report progress, 
and ask leave to sit again; which was carried. 

The committee then rose, reported progress, and asked leave to 
sit again; which was granted. 

A motion was made that the Convention adjourn till to-morrow 
at 9 A. M., but the motion was negatived; and then, on motion, the 
Convention adjourned unt 1 8 a. m. to-morrow. 



XXXI. FRIDAY, JULY i6, 1847 

Prayer by Rev. Mr. Green of Tazewell. 

Messrs. MOFFETT, JACKSON, KNOWLTON, BROCK- 
MAN, and FARWELL, presented petitions from their respective 
counties, praying the appointment of a superintendent of common 
schools, all of which were referred to the comm ttee on Education. 

Mr. WOODSON offered the following as two additional rules; 
which were adopted^yeas 71, nays 50: 

Rule. No resolution or proposition which has been or which 
shall be hereafter introduced in the Convention shall be considered 
unless it relates to or is directly connected with the "alteration, 
revision or amendment of the constitution," without the consent 
of at least two-thirds of the members of the Convention previously 
obtained, and if such consent be so given, the same whall be voted 
on without debate. 

Rule. Hereafter, immediately after the reception of petitions 
and reports from the standing committees, the Convention shall 
resolve itself into a committee of the whole on the reports of 
standing committees, which shall be the standing order of the day 
until the same are concluded. 

Leave of absence was granted to Messrs. JAMES, KITCHELL, 
PALMER of Macoupin. 

Mr. WEAD, from the special committee on townships, and 
the organization thereof, made a report containing a proposed 
article to be incorporated in the constitution; which was read, laid 
on the table, and 200 copies ordered to be printed. 

The Convention then, on motion, resolved itself into committee 
of the whole, and resumed the consideration of the report made by 
the committee on [E]xecutive Department — Mr. Crain in the 
chair. 

The question pending was on the amendment proposed by 
Mr. McCALLEN. 

Messrs. MINSHALL and EDWARDS of Madison made a few 
395 



396 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

remarks in opposition to the amendment and in favor of the sec- 
tion as reported by the committee. 

Mr. KINNEY of Bureau said, that he would be in favor of the 
report of the committee if he thought that it would hereafter be 
construed in the manner intended by the committee, but he con- 
sidered that another interpretation than that intended would be 
placed upon it, and he would, therefore, move to strike out the 
last clause, and have the same idea inserted in language that can- 
not be misconstrued. 

Mr. LOGAN said, he desired to say a few words in explanation 
of the position he occupied on this question. He thought he saw, 
when looking at this question through the dark vista of futurity, 
scenes of tyranny, oppression and misrule; a violation of the great 
principles of republican government, and the constitutional estab- 
lishment of a legislative department, abandoned to the power and 
control of one man, styled Governor. This would be the effect 
of the last clause in the section now before us, if retained in the 
constitution. 

He opposed the section in its present shape, because it conferred 
upon the Governor legislative power, which was not contemplated 
by any of the States, or the people of this State, when they pro- 
posed to establish a republican form of government. Our govern- 
ment was one of three co-ordinate branches, and it was never 
designed that either one of those departments was to invade upon 
the duties of the others, or in any way assume the peculiar func- 
tions not belonging to itself. The clause in the section now before 
us placed in the hands of one man the great and dangerous power 
to direct and control the Legislature in its actions — to say to it 
"thus far shalt thou go and no farther;" to say to it what acts he 
required them do, and to deny them the right of legislating upon 
those subjects which he had no desire should be touched. This 
section gave him this dangerous power over the action of the 
Legislature at a called session, and if the principle was good at a 
special session, why would it not hold good at the regular sessions? 
If it was safe and proper to give him the power at one session, why 
not let him have it at all sessions? If the great evil to be dreaded 
at special sessions was excessive legislation, and this section was 
intended as a remedy for that, why not apply it to general sessions; 



FRIDAY, JULY i6, 1847 397 

for the remedy if good in one case was good in the other. He 
thought that under the spirit of our system of government, the 
legislative power properly belonged to the Legislature as the im- 
mediate representatives of the people, and that it contained the 
views and sentiments of the people, and a better knowledge of 
what laws the people desired than under any circumstances could 
be possessed by a Governor. And he objected against the bestow- 
al of such an immense power upon the Governor. The constitu- 
tion never contemplated conferring any legislative power upon 
the Governor; it gave him the power to call the Legislature 
together when extraordinary circumstances required it, because 
that body had no power to call themselves together. He also 
opposed the vesting in the Governor the power to call a session of 
the Legislature, and propose to them, as long as they continued 
in session, new schemes and projects. He desired to see the object 
set forth in the proclamation calling them together, and none 
other allowed, as it would be found to be the case that the Governor 
would find himself beset by friends, political friends, who would 
beg him to recommend to the Legislature favorite measures 
desired by them, and they, in their turn, would support the schemes 
of the Governor, and thus, by a system of combination and log- 
rolling, the Governor would be enabled to wield an extensive 
legislative power. He would thus become a central power, and 
could control the others. He thought the Legislature the proper 
body to judge of what was its proper duties, and what legislation 
was required for the people. 

Mr. KNOX moved, as an amendment, to add to the section 
"at the commencement of the session." 

Mr. BROCKMAN followed in favor of the section as it stood. 
He thought the general sessions of the Legislature, to be held 
biennially, would be sufficient for the legislation required by the 
people, and for the stability in them so much desired; and that the 
extraordinary session should be devoted solely to the business 
which the Governor should lay before it. He had full confidence 
in the Legislatures that might come after us, and dreaded no 
such evil results as had been predicted by the gentleman from 
Sangamon. 

Mr. HAWLEY opposed the section as unprecedented, and as 



398 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

one calculated to defeat the object of the formation of an independ- 
ent legislative department. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Madison replied briefly to Mr. LOGAN, 
and controverted the probability of the evils declared by the gentle- 
man to be consequent upon the adoption of this section. 

Mr. DEMENT was in favor of the old constitution as it stood 
in reference to this subject, and opposed to the section as reported 
by the committee. He did not believe that the effect of this 
restriction would be to restrict legislation at the extraordinary 
session, but would rather increase it. Every member who had 
any particular subject which he desired legislation upon, would call 
upon the governor and request him to call the attention of the 
legislature to it; and if he had not the influence with the Governor, 
he would by the intervention of friends, obtain that privilege. 
The Governor would feel obliged, from feelings of courtesy, to do 
so, and thus every sort of matter would be before the legislature; 
and that too with the sanction of the governor's recommendation 
that they were matters of importance. And, in this way, the 
Governor himself would be placed in a very delicate position, 
either to recommend trifling matters or to lay himself open to the 
charge of denying one man's request when he may have acceded 
to that of another. He thought there was no danger in entrusting 
the legislature with all matters, and allowing them to be the proper 
judges of what was required by the people. He again said he 
would prefer the provision as it stood in the old constitution, to 
the section as reported by the committee. 

Mr. DAVIS of Massac said, that he supposed the object of the 
committee, in reporting the section, or the last clause of it, was to 
prevent any legislation upon matters other than those for which 
it had been called. He was in favor of the object which they had 
had in view, but he did not believe that it would be effected by the 
section as it now stood. The clause, which it was proposed 
to strike out, placed in the hands of the Governor the power to 
recommend and lay before the legislature at this extraordinary 
session, any subject which he might think proper, whether that 
subject had any reference to the specific object of the called session 
or not. Mr. D. was not willing to give the governor this power, 
by which he would be enabled to regulate the action of the legis- 



FRIDAY, JULY i6, 1847 399 

lature by submitting to them whatsoever he thought proper, and 
having legislation upon subjects which he only, perhaps, had a 
desire or an interest in having legislative action upon. He was 
opposed to it because he considered that when the legislature was 
called together, which should be only when extraordinary business 
required their immediate action, they should be confined in their 
actions to the object for which they were called, and should enter 
into no business but that stated in the proclamation. He would 
vote against the amendment offered by the gentleman from Knox, 
in order that the amendment offered by the gentleman from 
Shelby (Mr. THORNroN) on yesterday, and which had been voted 
down, might be reconsidered, and adopted. That amendment 
defined, in proper terms, the action of the legislature at the extra- 
ordinary session, and prohibited any general legislation. It was 
similar to a provision in the constitution of the State of Tennessee, 
and he was sure it had not been understood, or else it would have 
been adopted. 

Mr. WEAD was in favor of the section as it had been reported, 
and opposed to any amendment. He thought that it was under- 
stood that the people of the State felt there had been too much 
legislation in Illinois, and they had been informed upon that 
subject to-day, by men of experience and of age. That there 
had been too much legislation none could deny; and to remedy 
that evil and guard against it for the future, was one of the princi- 
pal reforms expected from this Convention. Laws had been 
passed at one session and changed at the next; and all this was to 
be prevented for the future. 

If, however, general legislation was desired more frequently 
than once in two years, why not have the Legislature meet every 
year, and do away with the provision for biennial sessions? He 
considered this matter settled and thought the only question now 
for them to dispose of was, what restrictions should be placed upon 
the action of the extraordinary sessions, which might be called by 
the Governor. It was, should we confine them to legislation upon 
the subjects contained in the proclamation by the Governor or 
to what is laid before them, in his message to them, when they 
shall have assembled or shall we allow them to act upon what he 
may lay before them from time to time, during the session or 



40O ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

shall they have power to go on and legislate upon all matters 
which they may think proper for them to legislate upon, independ- 
ent of the object for which they may have been called? These, 
in his opinion, were the proper subjects of inquiry. The last had 
been settled by the former action of the Convention, in fixing the 
sessions to be held biennially, thus prohibiting general legislation 
more than once in two years. To the first there were many 
objections; one of these was, that no man could forsee the great 
number of events that might transpire between the time of issuing 
the proclamation and the time ,of the meeting of the Legislature; 
and the Governor may set forth in that proclamation a vast num- 
ber of subjects, which will embrace every sort of matter proper for 
legislative action, some of which may not be popular with the 
people in one section, and some unpopular in another section. 
The Convention has already said that the legislature shall meet 
but once in two years for general legislation, with unlimited powers, 
except so far as restrained by the general provisions of the con- 
stitution, and can we not provide the restrictions to be placed 
upon their action when assembled for a specific object, so as to 
confine them to legislation upon that object, without prejudicing 
their action, or treating them with distrust? Much good will be 
found to result from this resolution. Take away from the Gover- 
nor this privilege of laying before them the only subjects upon 
which they can act, and you throw open the doors again to all the 
evils of special, and local, and excessive legislation, as we would 
have if the sessions were annual. 

He was in favor of allowing the Governor this check upon the 
action of the Legislature at this extraordinary session, and he 
feared none of those evils, of combination and log-rolling, which 
had been spoken of by the gentlemen. The Governor, it 
was to be presumed, was to be a man of some character and 
honesty, and that very character, his pride, his self-respect, and 
his regard for his position as representative of the State and the 
whole people, and not any local interest or section, would keep 
him above such contrivances and designing schemes, and govern 
all his actions with a desire to promote the general welfare of the 
State. He will take care that all things proper and desirable for 



FRIDAY, JULY i6, 1847 401 

the action of the Legislature shall be brought before the people 
and all others excluded. 

Mr. DAVIS of Montgomery made a few remarks in opposition 
to the section. 

The question was then taken on the amendment of Mr. Knox, 
and it was rejected. 

The question recurring on the amendment of Mr. McCallen 
to strike out, it was decided in the negative— yeas 60, nays 64. 

Mr. WOODSON moved to strike out the words, "lay before 
them," and insert: "set forth in his proclamation." 

Mr. CONSTABLE moved, as an amendment to the amend- 
ment, to add to the same: "and such other subjects as may be 
introduced by the concurrence of two-thirds of the members of 
each house composing said general assembly, based upon the 
important exigency demanding this action and connected with the 
public welfare." 

Mr. PRATT opposed the amendment of Mr. W. as without a 
precedent in any state constitution in the Union, where the 
instance or precedent of a case where the Governor was required 
to state, in his proclamation calling an extraordinary session, 
the object for which he convened them. He would refer the 
gentleman to the extraordinary session of the Congress in 1837, 
called by the President. In the proclamation the object was not 
expressed, although every one knew the cause — the financial 
difficulties of the land; — but at the meeting of Congress, the 
President sent to them his message upon the subject of the finances 
of the country, and submitted to them the Independent Treasury. 
Congress, however, at the extraordinary session, rejected the 
Independent Treasury, and adopted a loan by treasury notes, for 
the Independent Treasury bill was not passed for two years after- 
wards. No such thing was required in any state in the Union, and 
there were good reason [s] for not doing so. One great reason 
was, the great expense of so doing. If the arguments were set 
forth in detail in the proclamation, it would make it very long, 
and to have it published in all the papers over the state, would cost 
a great amount, which he thought it better to avoid. 

Mr. WOODSON said, that if he understood the objection 
urged by the gentleman, it was that the proposition contained in 



402 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the amendment was one which had not been required by other 
states; this was one reason in his (Mr. W.'s) opinion, why it should 
be adopted, and the legislature confined to the specific object for 
which they had been called upon to legislate. By having the 
object stated in the proclamat[i]on it would be known to the 
people in the state, and the representatives might be enabled to 
obtain an expression of the people's sentiments upon the subject. 
We had already made provision, in the article of the constitution 
reported by the committee on the Legislative Department, that 
the legislature should meet, for purposes of general legislation, 
but once in two years — a measure that had been universally 
demanded by the people; and if they were to be called together 
on these extraordinary occasions, the people should know the 
object of the call, and the representatives ought to have time, 
before the meeting of the session, to exchange their views and 
sentiments with their constituents upon matters which they were 
to act upon; and when they did meet to carry out the wishes of 
their constituents upon that subject, act upon it, and that only, 
and then go home. 

Mr. LOGAN said, he would say one word to the gentleman 
from Jo Daviess (Mr. Pratt) upon the question of expense. If 
the objects which the Governor desired to lay before the legislature 
at these extraordinary sessions were presented in detail to the 
people, at the time of the proclamation calling the general assem- 
bly together, it would not cost any more than if he did so, as he 
would, in his message to them at the opening of the session. — 
They would have to be presented at one time or the other, and the 
expense would be no less at one time than at the other. 

Mr. PRATT replied, that the gentleman from Sangamon was 
mistaken. To have the long proclamation advertised in the 
various papers of the state, for a month or more previous to the 
meeting of the legislature, would cost considerably more than 
having the message set up at one office, and then 20,000 extra 
copies, which would cost but the price of the paper and the press- 
work in addition, circulated over the state. If that gentleman 
would examine, he would find out that there would be considerable 
difference in the cost. 

The question was then taken on the amendment of Mr. Con- 



FRIDAY, JULY i6, 1847 403 

STABLE, and the same was rejected. And thereupon the motion 
of Mr. W. to strike out and insert, and the same was rejected — 
yeas 59, nays 63. 

Mr. HAYES moved the committee rise, &c.; and the com- 
mittee rose, reported progress, and asked leave to sit again. 
Granted. 

And then, on motion, the Convention adjourned till 3 p. m. 

AFTERNOON 

The Convention met, and immediately resolved itself into 
committee of the whole — Mr. Crain in the chair. 

Mr. PETERS moved to reconsider the vote by which the 
amendment proposed by Mr. Thornton had been rejected. 

And the vote being taken on reconsidering the same, it was 
decided in the affirmative — yeas 6^, nays 57. And then the said 
amendment was adopted — yeas 75, nays 23- 

Mr. KENNER moved to strike out the words, "when assem- 
bled the purposes for which they were convened," and the same 
was adopted — yeas 76, nays 40. 

Mr. LOCKWOOD moved to strike out the whole section; 
which motion was negatived — yeas 41, nays 72. 

Sec. II. He shall be commander-in-chief of the army and 
navy of this state, and of the militia, except when they shall be 
called into the service of the United States. 

Mr. KENNER moved to strike it out. 

Mr. WHITESIDE offered, as a substitute: "He shall be 
commander-in-chief of the militia of the state, except when they 
shall be mustered into the service of the United States." 

And the question being taken, both motions were decided in 
the negative. 

Sec. 12. No amendment. 

Sec. 13. Providing for a Lieutenant Governor of the 
State. 

Mr. OLIVER moved the section be stricken out. Rejected. 

Sec. 14. The Lieutenant Governor shall, by virtue of his 
office, be Speaker of the Senate; have a right, when in committee 
of the whole, to debate and vote on all subjects, and, whenever 
the Senate are equally divided, to give the casting vote. 



404 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. CHURCHILL moved to strike out: "have a right, when 
in committee of the whole, to debate and vote on all subjects." 
Rejected. 

Mr. SERVANT moved to strike out the words, "and vote on." 
Lost. 

Sections 15 and 16 were passed without amendment. 

Sec. 17. If the Lieutenant Governor shall be called upon to 
administer the government, and shall, while in such administra- 
tion, resign, die, or be absent from the state, during the recess of 
the General Assembly, it shall be the duty of the Secretary of 
State for the time being to convene the Senate for the purpose of 
choosing a speaker. 

Mr. CHURCHILL moved to strike out all after, "assembly," 
and insert: "the speaker of the house of representatives shall act 
as Governor." Lost. 

Sections 18 and 19 were passed without amendment. 

Sec. 20. Every bill which shall have passed the Se[n]ate 
and House of Representatives shall, before it becomes a law 
be presented to the Governor: if he approve, he shall sign it; but 
if not, he shall return it, with his objections, to the house in which 
it shall have originated; who shall enter the objections at large on 
their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such recon- 
sideration, two-thirds of the members present shall agree to pass 
the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other 
House; by which it shall likewise be reconsidered; and if approved 
by two-thirds of the members present, it shall become a law not- 
withstanding the objections of the Governor. But in all such 
cases the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and 
nays; and the names of the members voting for or against the bill 
shall be entered on the journal of each House, respectively. If any 
bill shall not be returned by the Governor within ten days, (Sun- 
days excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same 
shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the 
Legislature shall, by their adjournment, prevent its return; in 
which case the said bill shall be returned on the first day of the 
meeting of the General Assembly after the expiration of said ten 
days, or be a law. 

Mr. WOODSON moved to strike out, " if he oppose [sic] heshall 



FRIDAY, JULY i6, 1847 405 

sign it, but if not," and insert: "who shall sign the same and return 
it forthwith to the house in which it originated, unless he have 
constitutional objections to such bill, when." 

And the question thereon being divided, was first taken on 
striking out, and decided in the negative. 

Mr. CROSS of Winnebago moved to strike out, " two-thirds 
of the members present," and insert: "majority of all the members 
elect." Rejected — yeas 60, nays 61. 

Mr. [SMITH of Macon]^^ moved to strike out the whole sec- 
tion. Lost. 

Mr. DAVIS of McLean moved to strike out, " two-thirds of the 
members present," and insert: " two-thirds of the members elect." 
He said that he oflFered this amendment for the purpose of giving 
the veto power, if it was to be retained, some little force. We had 
adopted, in the article on the Legislative Department, a provision 
that no bill should be passed until it received a majority of the 
votes of the members elect; and if the section stood as it now did, 
a bill, after having been vetoed by the Governor, might be passed 
by a less vote than in the first instance, for two-thirds of the mem- 
bers present might, in many instances, be less than a majority 
of the whole house. He thought it would be inconsistent to leave 
this section in its present shape, after the action of the committee 
on the former article. 

Mr. PETERS enforced the same view. 

Mr. LOCKWOOD thought differently; a bill which had 
been passed by the legislature, and which was returned by the 
Governor, came again before that body, not as a bill which had 
been passed, but as a new proposition for their action, and which 
would require, at least, the same vote as other bills required. 

Mr. DAVIS replied, and repeated his remarks, and Mr. 
LocKwooD withdrew the opinion he had just expressed, and con- 
curred in the view taken by Mr. D. 

Mr. LOGAN said, that the section as it now stood, reduced 
the effect of the Governor's veto to a little less than nothing at all. 
The house consisted of seventy-five members, and it would require 
a vote of thirty-eight in its favor to pass the bill in the first instance; 
the legislature may say that one-third shall constitute a quorum 

'' Name supplied from the Journal of the Convention. 



4o6 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

for the transaction of business, which would be thirty-four mem- 
bers, and under this section, two-thirds of this quorum may pass 
the bill. This destroyed entirely the veto power. 

Mr. SINGLETON thought a majority of the members elect, 
which was required to pass the bill, a sufficient check upon the 
action of the Legislature, and a sufficient one for the importance 
to be attached to the objections interposed by any Governor 
which we may have in Illinois. He would vote for making the 
majority of the members elect, a sufficient number to pass a bill 
after a veto, and would oppose the two-thirds. 

Mr. MINSHALL advocated the amendment — two-thirds of 
the members elect, as a most invaluable safeguard against the 
evils of hasty and unprovident legislation, which had been the 
subject of such universal complaint for years past in our state, and 
upon this floor where it had been denounced in such unmeasured 
terms; and he was astonished now to hear these same gentlemen 
hesitate to adopt this most salutary and wise provision against its 
recurrence. He had seen the time when, if such a clause as this 
had been in our constitution, it might have saved the state from 
the shame, ruin and disaster which had fallen upon them, by the 
wild and speculating notions of the legislature. He considered 
the veto power, particularly in the western states, where such a 
desire existed to rush into hasty legislation, and wild speculation, 
was the wisest and most saving clause to be inserted in any consti- 
tution to check the excess of over legislation. He was in favor of its 
adoption in this constitution, and he thought there was a great 
feeling existing among the people, which looked to this Conven- 
tion for its adoption. Though its expediency in the hands of the 
President of the United States might be doubted by some, he 
could see no objection to it in a state government, but thought it 
most salutary and proper. 

Mr. PETERS was in favor of the amendment as proposed by 
the member from McLean, and when the time would come when 
the ayes and noes could be called for, he would not hesitate an in- 
stant in recording his aye in favor of it. He thought its operation 
had been most beneficial, and had been informed that if it had 
been in our old constitution would have saved us from much ruin. 
He was not acquainted with the circumstances himself, (not then 



FRIDAY, JULY i6, 1847 407 

being in the state) but he was informed that when the great cause 
of our misfortune — the internal improvement act, which had 
created our debt, and piled up millions upon millions, which we 
were to pay — the Governor had vetoed it, and when it went back to 
the legislature, it was passed again by a majority of those present. 

Mr. EDWARDS of Sangamon said, he had never understood 
that that bill had been vetoed. 

Mr. THOMAS said, he was familiar with its history, when it 
was first passed; it came before the council of revision, the Gover- 
nor vetoed it, and gave his reasons. Judge Smith did the same, and 
gave his reasons, and other members of the council did the same; 
all the members who opposed it, gave their reasons for vetoing it, 
separately, and differently. 

Mr. PETERS said, that he was glad to have been informed 
upon the subject, for he knew nothing of it himself, and had 
referred to it as a matter of history. Any way, however, had the 
Governor not been clogged by the other members of the council of 
revision, and this two-third provision been in the constitution, the 
state might have been saved from all the devastating evils of that 
act. He again referred to the inconsistency of the section as it 
now stood, which allowed a bill to be passed after a veto, by a less 
number than it did in the first place, and advocated the adoption 
of the amendment. 

The question was then taken on striking out "present" and 
inserting "elected;" and decided in the affirmative. 

Mr. LOGAN moved to strike out "two-thirds" and insert 
"majority." 

Mr. SERVANT said, he would vote to strike out two-thirds, 
if he thought he could have three-fifths inserted, but he feared 
that he might not succeed, and would therefore vote against 
striking out. He alluded at some length, to the internal im- 
provement act, and argued that all its evils might have been 
prevented if a similar provision had been in the old constitution. 

Mr. KNOWLTON followed in opposition to the veto power, 
in any shape, which he denounced as opposed to the principles 
of republicanism — it giving to one man, the power to defeat the 
action of a majority of the immediate representatives of the 
people. 



4o8 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. SMITH of Macon said, he represented two counties, 
and this question was the principal one which had been discussed 
before the people by himself, and his opponents; and he was sure 
that he knew the sentiments of his constituents to be entirely 
opposed to the veto power in any shape. He argued at much 
length against it as a relic of the British constitution, and as 
entirely opposed to the true basis of republican government — 
the power and sentiments of the people, as manifested by their 
representatives. 

Mr. McCALLEN was entirely opposed to the veto power 
being engrafted on our constitution. It was anti-republican, for 
it aiForded means whereby the wishes and sentiments of the people 
might be defeated by one man; and as anti-democratic^for it 
gave one man, styled Governor, an equal weight with forty-nine 
of the representatives of the people. He alluded to the remarks 
that had been made upon the internal improvement act, which it 
was said might have been defeated by such a power; and argued 
that even admitting the truth of that remark, it was no cause why 
they should depart from the true principles of republicanism and 
democracy. He thought that the whole evil of that scheme, 
was the result of one exercise of the veto power by a President of 
the United States. The bank of the U. States had been de- 
stroyed by the veto of General Jackson, and the then good 
currency of the land was taken away; the people had resolved, in 
self defence, to have state banks, which had produced an inflation 
of the currency, and a desire to speculate; out of that desire had 
grown the internal improvement speculation — and then had come 
the ruin. All of this he attributed to the veto of the charter of 
the United States Bank. He denounced the veto power as one 
giving the executive an authority to encroach on the legislative 
department, which he said had been done gradually by every 
President since the first exercise of it; and at length, it had gone 
so far that the President had involved, by his own act, the country 
in a war, without consulting the legislative department at all. 
Many evils might have been averted to this state, had this power 
been exercised. Rome had been saved three times by clothing 
its executive with dictatorial powers, but that was no argument 
that the true principles of our government should be abandoned. 



FRIDAY, JULY i6, 1847 409 

The question was divided, and first taken on striking out 
" two-thirds," and decided in the affirmative — yeas 68, nays 47. 

Mr. MINSHALL moved to insert "three-fifths" instead of 
"majority," as proposed. 

[Mr. MINSHALL addressed the committee:" 

As the question at present stands, said Mr. M., (the committee 
having in their report required a vote of two-thirds of the legisla- 
ture to pass a bill over the veto of the governor,) there appears to 
be a diversity of opinion in the convention as to whether they 
will confer the veto power on the governor or not, in the manner 
in which it is thus proposed in the report of the committee. Unless 
the amendment which has been proposed, to strike out the words 
"members present," and insert members elected, be adopted, the 
veto power as conferred by the report will amount to nothing, for 
less than a majority of the whole number of members elect may 
pass a bill, or a bare majority, which is already provided for in 
the 1 6th section of the report of the legislative committee, requir- 
ing all bills before they can become a law, to be passed by yeas 
and nays, be a majority of all the members elected. I cannot, 
continued Mr. M., see the necessity or use of the veto, as proposed 
by the committee, unless the amendment proposed by the gentle- 
man from McLean, requiring that the two-thirds should be two- 
thirds of all the members elect, should be adopted. I am not 
quite sure that two-thirds is the right number. I do not know 
but that I would prefer a smaller number; but I must be permitted 
to say, that in a State government, I regard the veto as an invalu- 
able safeguard against the evils of hasty and improvident legis- 
lation, which has been the subject of universal complaint for years 
past, in this State; and we hear the same complaints reiterated on 
this floor. Have we not been striving in every possible way to 
prevent its recurrence hereafter, by narrowing down the legislative 
power, and heaping restrictions upon it in every shape and form? 
We have heard the legislation of the State denounced in un- 
measured terms; and I must say, that I am not a little astonished 
to hear gentlemen who have been so eager to check hasty legisla- 

^'This speech by Minshall, together with those by Singleton, Smith 
Bond, and Woodson, are taken from the Sangamo Journal, July 29. 



4IO ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

tion, now, when we have arrived at the proper point— when we 
have in the progress of framing a constitution — arrived at the 
place were we may in the most appropriate manner interpose the 
proper check to improvident legislation, I am astonished, I say, 
to see the same gentlemen hesitate to adopt this salutary and wise 
provision against its recurrence. I have seen the time, sir, when 
such a clause as this, in the constitution of this State, might have 
saved the State from the shame, ruin and disaster which have 
fallen upon it. In the general government the Veto power, in 
my opinion, ought to be curtailed; but in our State government 
it may be safely increased. 

[Some further discussion having taken place on the motion 
to strike out "two-thirds" and insert three-fifths of the members 
elected.] 

Mr. MINSHALL said he desired to place himself in a correct 
position, inasmuch as the language of the gentleman from Greene, 
(Mr. Woodson,) might subject his views to misconstruction. I 
am in favor, continued Mr. M., of this slight increase of the veto 
power in the State government, without regard to party consider- 
ation. I do not think that party has anything to do with the 
matter, although some gentlemen seem to argue as if there was 
in reality some connection between this matter and party con- 
siderations. I regard it as a matter pertaining to the State gov- 
ernment alone; as a principle proper to be incorporated in the 
State constitution; as a necessary, salutary provision for the pro- 
tection of the people against improvident and hasty legislation. 
I have referred to the executive of the United States and to the 
veto power in the United States Government, — not as a matter of 
party difference — although some gentlemen have treated it in 
that way; I have referred to it for the mere purpose of argument 
and illustration, and I presume it may be referred to for that pur- 
pose without differing with gentlemen as to the effects of the power 
on the legislative interest of the government of the United States, 
and without impropriety. 

Mr. MINSHALL proceeded to enlarge upon this point. He 
insisted that there was no analogy between the exercise of the 
power under the United States government, and its exercise in a 
State government; and no just comparison could be made between 



FRIDAY, JULY i6, 1847 411 

its exercise by the President and its exercise by the Governor of 
a State. It was not a fair argument to resort to on this occasion, 
where the simple deductions of reason alone were proper; because 
it furnished gentlemen with the opportunity of making improper 
appeals to the prejudices of our nature, without taking the dis- 
tinction, which in reality existed, between the reason for the 
power in one case, and against it in the other. They were not 
parallel cases. The powers of Congress were different entirely 
from those of the legislature of the State. The powers of Congress 
were limited and restricted to certain specified matters. In the 
States, on the contrary, all power resided in the legislature except 
what had been delegated to Congress. The powers of Congress 
were of a limited delegated character, while those of the State 
legislature were sovereign and supreme. The patronage of the 
executive of the United States was large and increasing, and 
possessed a controlling influence which was Hkely to operate im- 
properly, if it had not done so already on the legislative depart- 
ment of the government. The argument of the gentleman from 
Greene, and the quotation which he has made from Justice Story, 
proved that the veto power ought to be increased in the State 
government, and diminished in the government of the United 
States. It would be proper to restrict the power in the govern- 
ment of the United States, but the same reasons for its restriction, 
did not exist in a State government. 

Look, said Mr. Minshall, at the history of our State govern- 
ment, and let gentlemen tell me when and where the executive 
department of this State, ever encroached upon, or overrun the 
legislative department; when the power of patronage or influence 
of the governor ever overran the legislature? When was.it? 
Never. On the contrary, the history of the past in our legislative 
progress shows that the legislative department has constantly 
encroached upon the province of the executive; and that is almost 
always the case with State legislatures, they being the active 
branch and concentrating the sovereignty of the people. 

Unless the executive and the other co-ordinate departments 
are strongly guarded, the inclination of the legislative department 
is, and ever will be, to encroach upon the others. Has not that 
been the case with our State government for the last fifteen or 



412 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

twenty years? Did not the legislature take from the governor 
the appointment of prosecuting attorneys, and various other priv- 
ileges which had been originally conferred upon him? Why, there 
has been nothing else since the beginning of this government, and 
particularly for the last lo or 15 years, but encroachment after 
encroachment by the legislative department upon the executive, 
and judicial department of the government, until it has pros- 
trated the one, and rendered the other contemptible. The veto 
power, then, is necessary to enable the executive by the exercise of 
this negative power, to protect itself and its co-ordinate depart- 
ment from the encroachments of the legislature. It must be 
perfectly apparent to all who are unblinded by passion and pre- 
judice, that the power should exist in a State government, for the 
purpose of perserving the equilibrium and independence of the 
co-ordinate branches of the government. Are we to have a gov- 
ernment of co-ordinate and independent departments? Have we 
not commenced with that as the basis of the constitutional govern- 
ment we are now framing? If so, this provision is necessary to 
the executive for its own protection. It would appear from the 
position of the gentleman from Greene, that he was for dispensing 
with the executive department altogether, from the holy horror 
which he manifested at what he is pleased to call this monarchical 
feature of the government. — Yet the government of the United 
States, and of all the States in this republic, all possess this same 
monarchical feature. 

But this power is necessary for another important purpose, 
and that is, to carry out the position of the gentlemen who now 
oppose the power, but who have been strenuous advocates for 
inserting in the constitution, the clause restricting legislation at a 
special session, to the matters contained and specified in the proc- 
lamation of the governor as the reason for calling the special 
session, the inclmation of the legislature will be to break over this 
restraint. Suppose the case of a special call of the legislature 
under our new constitution, for a specified object, and that during 
the session the legislature should, notwithstanding the restriction, 
pass an act the subject of which was not comprised in the speci- 
fication of reasons for calling the legislature. How is the legis- 
lature to be restrained, if the governor has not the power to inter- 



FRIDAY, JULY i6, 1847 413 

pose his negative to a bill of this kind, or if a bare majority be 
sufficient to pass the law notwithstanding the veto? This new 
feature in the legislative department alone, if gentlemen who are 
in favor of it, seriously design to make it available, requires a 
slight increase of the veto power. The gentleman from Greene 
says, that the internal improvement system is the only instance 
of excessive legislation which can be cited, and that would have 
passed in spite of the veto, if it had existed. But that is not the 
only case. Has the gentleman forgotten the scenes of 1840? 
Did we not[stand]shoulder to shoulder in resisting the encroachments 
of the legislature upon the judicial department? Was not that 
enormous breach of the constitution, and the prostration of the 
judiciary, returned by the council of revision; and does not the 
the gentleman from Greene, well remember the manner in which it 
was passed, notwithstanding the council of revision, by a majority 
of just one vote? The increase of the veto power now advocated, 
to three-fifths instead of a bare majority, would have saved the 
State from that calamity, and the judiciary from that desecration. 
The gentleman from Greene says, that I am inconsistent in hav- 
ing advocated a large representation in the Legislature, and in now 
advocating an increase in the veto power; I maintain that it is a 
correct position. I entertain a desire to see a full and fair represen- 
tation of the people in the popular branch of the Legislature, 
because this is the department which most closely and intimately 
reflects the wishes and interests of the people; but for the very 
reason that this branch also represents the passions and prejudices 
of the mass, and although generally desiring to do what they con- 
sider to be for the best; yet as they are occasionally carried away 
by sudden impulses, incident to all popular bodies, the executive 
should therefore be invested with this negative, this counteracting 
power. In this consists the beauty, harmony and science of our 
system. 

If, continued Mr. M., our government is to consist of the 
three co-ordinate branches, distinct and independent of each 
other, and the executive is to stand upon an equality with the other 
branches; this increase of the veto power is indispensable to pro- 
tect the executive and other departments from the encroachments 
of the legislature; I am firmly of opinion that this slight increase 



414 ILUNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

of the veto power, will operate beneficially for the interests of the 
State hereafter. I feel assured that it cannot be productive of 
injury under the present organization of the department, and the 
little patronage that we are about to allow to the governor. If 
we were going to have in our constitution a provision giving to the 
governor a large appointing power; if we were about to confer 
extensive patronage upon him, ^o as greatly to increase his influ- 
ence, the matter would than assume a different aspect, and in that 
event, I would be less inclined to confer upon him the veto power, 
but that is not the case. It is doubtful whether he will have the 
appointment of a single officer. He is to have no patronage; he is 
to be a mere shadow, an image, a sign of the sovereignty of the 
State; a representation of that sovereignty in name only, without 
possessing any of the attributes which belong to it; and yet gentle- 
men profess great fear and alarm at the proposition for investing 
the executive branch of the government, with the slight increase 
which is now proposed. In my judgment in view of all these 
considerations, the executive could never exert sufficient influence 
over the Legislature to check its progress from any extraneous 
causes; but if it exercise an influence at all, it must be from the 
mere intellectual and moral power which a great and good man 
only could possess, and that check, in all probability, would be 
for good and not for evil. I am therefore in favor of this increase 
of the veto power. 

Mr. SINGLETON said, he was in favor yesterday of striking 
out that part of the section so as to leave the power with a majority 
of the legislature to pass a bill after the veto of the governor, 
but as he was satisfied from the vote of the convention yesterday, 
that a majority of the convention were not in favor of that prop- 
osition; he was now willing to vote for the proposition for the 
gentleman from Schuyler. He was not one of those who would 
go for no proposition which did not originate with themselves. 
He was willing, if he could not get the proposition he wanted, to 
take the best that he could get. He believed that a majority of 
the Legislature ought to have the power, but as it was impossible 
to obtain a vote of the convention in favor of that proposition; 
he was for making the evil as small as possible, by taking the 
proposition for a majority of three-fifths. It was clearly a party 



FRIDAY, JULY i6, 1847 415 

question, and he was willing to compromise, in order to obtain 
the best terms that he could get. It was the first time, however, 
that he had ever offered to compromise, but he felt it to be a duty, 
which he owed to his constituents, that he should do so on this 
occasion, and it was only necessary to see the path of his duty 
before him, and he was ready to follow it. He was ready then to 
meet gentlemen on half-way grounds. There were serious objec- 
tions against the proposition as contained in the report of the 
committee, requiring a majority of two-thirds to pass a bill after 
a veto of the governor. — That proposition would make the gover- 
nor equal to sixty-six members — fifteen more than a majority. — 
The proposition of the gentleman from Schuyler would make him 
equal to a majority and nine over — a considerable reduction. 
This proposition, then, was preferable to the first. 

Mr. SMITH of Mason said: 

Mr. Chairman, — I have not trespassed upon the time of the 
Convention heretofore to any extent, and will not now inflict a 
regular speech upon the committee. I would not utter a word 
upon this subject did I not see a disposition to adopt the report of 
the committee before us without sufficient investigation; and I 
feel it to be my duty to make known the wishes of my constituents 
upon this subject; and when this is done, I am certain it will have 
more influence with the committee, than any argument that I 
can present. It will at least have the influence, so far as it goes, 
in making up the public opinion of the whole State. Certainly 
no gentleman here is willing to insert any provision in the con- 
stitution that will not meet with the approbation of the people 
of the State. 

If I know the opinion of the people of the two counties which 
I have the honor to represent on this floor, upon any one subject, 
it is on this. I consider myself directly instructed on this subject. 
The question of giving to the governor the veto power, was one 
of the issues between my honorable competitor and myself, when 
canvassing for a seat in this Convention. I was opposed to giving 
the governor this high power then, and am more opposed to it 
now. Considering what we have already done in this Conven- 
tion, if there ever was a necessity for provision of this sort in the 
constitution, there certainly is not now. Gentlemen want the 



41 6 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

governor to have the power to hold it as a check upon the legis- 
lature; — and gentlemen refer to the excesses of former legislation 
to show the necessity for such a check being placed in the new 
constitution, to prevent a repetition of similar excesses in the 
future. Gentlemen refer to the great internal improvement law, 
that has saddled upon the State the immense debt that hangs 
over us; and say that if Gov. Duncan had had the veto power, he 
would have used it, and would have prevented this error of the 
legislature. This all may be true enough; but gentlemen forget 
that we have already provided in the amendments that we have 
reported in the committee of the whole, against the evils of a 
public debt. We have provided that the legislature shall not 
pledge'the faith of the State for any sum exceeding fifty thousand 
dollars, except in cases of war and insurrection, without first 
referring the matter to the people at a general election, and then 
it must meet with the approval of a majority. This is placing 
the veto power where it belongs. The people have to foot the 
bills, and they should hold the veto. Does anyone, sir, suppose 
that the people of Illinois would have ratified a debt of fourteen 
millions of dollars? They would have been as clear of that as 
was Gov. Duncan. They would have vetoed the matter; and, 
sir, I cannot see the necessity of providing a veto power to be used 
first by the governor and then by the people. In this case, if the 
governor thinks proper, the matter or bill may pass to the people, 
or if he choose otherwise he can veto the bill and the people will 
never get a chance at it, unless a majority of two-thirds of both 
branches of the legislature over-rule the veto. In that case it 
comes before the people, and if they veto it the matter is settled. 
There are propositions also before this convention which I 
think will prevail, which will give the people a veto upon all bank 
charters. Then, I ask, what necessity is there in giving an addi- 
tional veto to the governor.? Sir, the legislative department of 
the government of Illinois has become the most unpopular branch 
of the government, and I believe it is deservedly so. And the 
cause of this is in the large amount of power conferred by the old 
constitution upon that department. Had the executive hadfthe 
same power conferred upon it, it would now be as unpopular as is 
the legislature. 



FRIDAY, JULY i6, 1847 417 

The proper way, as I consider, to prevent the abuse of power 
is in not conferring it. The legislature has given more dissatis- 
faction in taking such large pay for themselves, and in consuming 
so much time unnecessarily, than in any other one matter; and 
we have already provided against this abuse, by limiting the pay 
and the time. This is all called for by the people; but I do not 
think that the people want us to take power from the legislature 
and give it to the governor. If you give power to any one of 
the three departments of government, we must expect they will 
use it, and if you give the governor the power of becoming dan- 
gerous, you may expect that he will become so. The people 
want to hold in their own hands such power as we may take from 
the legislature, and not give it to the governor. 

Mr. Chairman, I am opposed to giving the veto power to the 
governor, both on the ground of expediency and principle. I 
agree with the gentleman from Peoria, that the doctrine is anti- 
republican, and that it is contrary to the genius and spirit of a 
representative government. It is, sir, a kingly prerogative, and 
should be left in the hands of the sovereign people. There seems 
to be a disposition in this body to confer too much power upon 
the governor and to render the legislature powerless. You have 
restricted the legislature by your action in a called session to 
just such subjects as the governor may propose to them, and now 
you propose to give to him the veto power. If you succeed in 
one case, the legislature has the power of originating and pro- 
posing such laws as they may pass, — but in the other, they are 
denied the right, and you give the governor a veto in all cases. 
It does seem to me that if this plan succeeds, that the legislature, 
who are the legitimate representatives of the people, will cut but 
a poor figure in Illinois. I ask, sir, what use is there in having 
a legislature if you render it powerless, and place it under the 
control of the executive of the State — a one-man power— the repre- 
sentative of monarchy? 

Mr. BOND said he was opposed to the proposition of the 
gentleman from Schuyler, for the reason, first, that the veto power 
was not an executive power; and in the next place, that if there 
was any necessity for guards and restrictions to be thrown around 
the legislative department, that had been sufficiently done already. 



41 8 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

We have provided, continued Mr. Bond, as a security against 
improvident legislation, that no bill shall become a law unless it 
shall have received the votes of a majority of the members of the 
legislature. The sophistry of the arguments of gentlemen con- 
sist in this: that they do not say that it is a legislative power. 
If they would have the governor participate in legislation, why 
not provide a place for him to come in and engage in discussion, 
that his opinions may be duly weighed and properly appreciated? 
Again, the bill of rights provides that the people shall have the 
right at all times to assemble together in a peaceable manner, and 
petition for a right of grievances. Why, we might as well provide 
at once, that the people shall petition the governor and his legis- 
lature. 

Sir, I am utterly hostile to giving the governor a power equal 
to that possessed by the people's representatives in the general 
assembly. I do not think it is such a power as he ought to exer- 
cise. — All that he should be called upon to do, is to sanction or 
not to sanction the acts of the legislature; and if he do not sanction 
their acts, there will be a sufficient guard thrown around legislation 
by providing that a majority shall pass such acts before they shall 
be permitted to go into effect. 

The veto power is not suited to this meridian. — It might have 
been a proper conservative power, in the earlier period of the 
republic. But it pre-supposes that the governor of the State has 
some knowledge of our constitution and laws; that he shall be a 
man of learning; that he shall possess a knowledge of the affairs 
of government; above all, it pre-supposes him a man of common 
sense, and common honesty; and a man who can take a survey of 
things as they really are, and can act with a broad range of mind, 
can take in the whole community, and lose sight of everything 
but the good of the entire community. I might perhaps jocularly 
say, that I was opposed to this power because the people have 
greatly suffered from overtrading, and I meant to take from the 
different departments of the government, the fictitious capital upon 
which they have been trading. I am not willing to acknowledge 
the governor is superior to two-thirds or three-fifths of the mem- 
bers elected. Some gentlemen contend that he ought to have 
the veto power, because he acts for the people of the entire State; 



FRIDAY, JULY i6, 1847 419 

whilst the members of the legislature, indiscriminately, represent 
particular districts. Sir, can he know the wishes of the people 
better than members of the legislature, who come fresh from the 
people themselves? If he can, he is something superior to what I 
have heretofore seen of the qualifications combined in a governor 
of Illinois; and I believe the responsibility is greater, in an individ- 
ual who comes immediately from the people. Believing this, and 
believing also, that as a general rule, they are as capable of dis- 
criminating the wants of the people, and as honest and faithful 
in carrying them out, I never can consent to give my support to 
a proposition that will put it into the power of the executive to 
deprive the people of what they desire should be done. 

Mr. WOODSON rose and asked the indulgence of the Con- 
vention, in order that he might, without consuming more than a 
very few moments of their time, explain the position which he 
occupied in reference to this subject. It was not his intention, 
he said, to enter into a discussion of the veto power. It was 
unnecessary to do so. He found that a majority of the Conven- 
tion was disposed to retain that power in the constitution, and as 
it was to be retained in the constitution, he hoped it would be 
retained in its least objectionable form. 

He was conscientious in saying that he believed it was a power 
which did not belong to a government such as ours. It was 
contrary, he thought, to the genius of our institutions. If the 
government was to be based upon the will of the people, then the 
veto, proceeding as it did, from one man, was to say the least of 
it, highly objectionable. 

In discussing this question, continued Mr. Woodson, I would 
not have alluded to vetoes which have heretofore been given, 
because I am averse to enkindle anything like party feeling, or 
introduce anything like party considerations; but I may remark 
here, that I do not think the veto power, as exercised by the 
President of the United States, should be exercised by the Gover- 
nor of Illinois. There are reasons why the President should have 
the right to exercise the power in his capacity as President, which 
do not apply to the Governor of a State. In the first place, the 
executive of the United States is clothed with vast executive 
patronage, growing out of our foreign relations as well as our 



420 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

domestic affairs, which makes it extremely necessary that he 
should sometimes exercise the veto power; but none of these 
reasons apply to the Governor of a State. I adopt the reason 
assigned by those who have written commentaries upon the United 
States government for giving this power. — Judge Story says: 

' 'There is a natural tendency in the legislative department to 
encroach upon the executive, and to absorb all the power of the 
government." Now whatever tendency exists on the part of the 
legislature of the United States government, to encroach upon 
the executive, the same tendency does not exist in the State gov- 
ernment. It cannot exist, as I shall show presently. Our State 
legislature is restricted and tied down, so that no inconvenience 
can possibly arise. The reason assigned for requiring the exercise 
of the veto power, is that it may be used as a check upon improvi- 
dent, unwise and rash legislation. This is the only reason urged 
in favor of the exercise of that power here. Well, I think I can 
convince this convention that it will not apply to Illinois under 
the constitution which we are about to adopt. Before I touch 
this, however, I will allude to the remarks made by the gentleman 
from Fulton, regarding the veto power. He says it has never been 
exercised in any case in which it has not been universally approved 
by the people. Now I am not so sure that this is the case; I 
doubt that it has invariably received their approval. Sir, there is 
difference of opinion upon that subject; but it is not necessary to 
discuss that question in connection with the question which is 
now before the convention. 

I differ most widely with the gentleman at any rate. The veto 
of Mr. Polk of the western river and harbor bill, has certainly not 
been approved. — I ask the gentleman to pause and reflect, and 
tell me whether there has not been one universal voice of condem- 
nation in regard to that veto. Sir, have not men of all parties 
recently met at Chicago and expressed their disapprobation of the 
veto of that bill ? Why unquestionably; there is scarcely a dissent- 
ing voice; and I remark also, that the gentleman cannot point out 
a single principle— a single object in that bill which has not at 
some time or other received the sanction of Presidents Jackson 
and Van Buren. However I will not consume the time by dwelling 
upon this subject. It is not necessary on this occasion. 



FRIDAY, JULY i6, 1847 421 

I have been struck with the peculiar inconsistency (if I may 
use the expression without designing anything offensive) of the 
gentlemen from Schuyler and Fulton, on this subject. Sir, when 
the question came up as to the number of members of which the 
legislature should be composed the gentleman from Schuyler was 
eloquent upon what he called an infringement of the rights of the 
people — endangering their liberties, and yet, when a proposition 
is made by which the powers of that very people are to be cur- 
tailed, the gentleman can find an argument in any-thing and every- 
thing, to check the power of the representatives of the people. 

Sir, the representatives in the general assembly come directly 
from the people, they are the people; and to the people alone 
should they be accountable and not to the executive. But, sir, 
I come now to the question, and wish to call the attention of the 
committee to it. Is there not sufficient restriction at this time 
upon the legislative action of the State.^ I admit, that there has 
been one single case, that of the internal improvement system, 
in which, if the governor had exerted the veto power, the State 
would have been in a better condition at this day. — But that is a 
single case; such a case cannot again occur under the restrictions 
which we have placed around the legislation of the State. It is 
impossible. But, will gentlemen suffer themselves to be frightened 
from their propriety by this single case? Are all principles to be 
surrendered because one single case existed which would have 
been an exception.? No, sir, we should look at the consequences 
of an act in all future time; we should consider how the country is 
to be affected by it hereafter. 

I desire to call the attention of the committee to some restric- 
tions which they have thrown around the legislative department 
of the government. [Mr. W. referred to various amended pro- 
visions of the report of the legislative committee.] 

No bill shall become a law unless it received the sanction of a 
majority of all the members elected. That is, said Mr. W., an 
important restriction; it was not a provision of the old constitution, 
it never existed in the old constitution. A majority of t he quorum 
could pass a law without the yeas and nays. Now, it cannot be 
done without the yeas and nays, and without a majority of the 
whole number of members elected. Again, the members of the 



422 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

legislature are to receive but two dollars per day for the first 
forty-two days, and one dollar a day thereafter. There is another 
important restriction on the action of the legislature; the sessions, 
instead of being almost unlimited as formerly, are now limited 
to a period of time which is barely sufficient for the transaction of 
the necessary public business; and another most important re- 
striction is, that no bill for the payment of a claim against the 
State can be passed, unless the claim shall have been previously 
adjudicated before some judicial tribunal. Now I ask, what 
danger there is to be apprehended from legislative action under all 
these restrictions? There is no danger in future, regarding the 
passage of bills for internal improvement for which the people are 
to be saddled with taxation. State legislation is further restricted 
by the manner in which the legislature is constituted; the Senate 
acting as a check upon the House, and the House a check upon 
the Senate. This is what Franklin aptly compared to a wagon 
with one horse hitched before and another behind, each pulling 
in diflFerent directions. Gentlemen here, are not only for putting a 
horse before, and a horse behind, but for putting so great a weight 
upon the wagon, that it cannot be moved. If you invest the gov- 
ernor with the veto power, there will be such a weight imposed 
as will perhaps entirely clog the wheels of legislation. Suppose 
the governor should at any time come in collision with the legis- 
lature, so that feelings of hostility will be aroused; (and this is 
not at all improbable,) under the veto power, the governor might 
veto every law passed by the legislature. Suppose this conven- 
tion should have refused to require the governor to sign bills 
when he has constitutional objections against their passage; this 
power will be illimitable, whether his objections are constitutional 
or otherwise. Such a restriction upon legislation, I think, is not 
in accordance with the genius and spirit of this government; a 
government derived from the people. 

I merely throw out this, said Mr. Woodson, as an offset to the 
assertion of the gentleman from Fulton, that the people had 
always expressed their approval in every case in which a veto has 
been given. It is a remarkable fact, and one which stands out 
in bold relief, in the history of this State, that the men who voted 
for that law, have been sustained by the people, and many of 



FRIDAY, JULY i6, 1847 423 

them are now holding high offices in the State. When I rose I 
did not intend to detain the committee so long as I have, and I 
beg pardon for trespassing on their time. The people being the 
the source of all power, the legislature should be accountable to 
the people for their acts, and not to the executive. 

These are my views, and I cannot reconcile it to my mind, 
that the will of one man should be permitted to control the action 
of the legislature. If it is to be a representative government at 
all, I want the people to rule through their representatives, and I 
want these representatives to be amenable solely to the people. 
This is the safest course. — Sir, the veto power of the governor, even 
if a bare majority may set aside his veto, is of itself a sufficient check. 

Let us examine how bills are passed. In the first place, a bill 
has to be read on three several days, unless three-fourths of the 
members agree to dispense with that rule, and the same formality 
takes place in both Houses. Here is sufficient time for reflection. 
The bill then goes to the executive and he vetoes it; and if they 
think proper upon reconsideration to pass the bill again by a 
majority, that I think is a sufficient check, a sufficient safe-guard 
against hasty and inconsiderate legislation, and I cannot consent 
by my vote that the legislature should be controlled by any 
further restriction than this. Do the people require that there 
should be any more restriction? As far as I know the question 
has never been mooted or discussed before the people of the 
country; but I believe they will be satisfied with the Constitution 
if you leave it as it is at present, in regard to this matter. There 
can be no objection to leaving it as it is. But I perceive that this 
Convention is determined that the veto power shall be exercised, but 
why they should be so desirous of introducing it, I cannot conceive. 

Mr. WOODSON referred to the veto of Gov. Duncan and re- 
marked that Duncan was less popular after that veto than before. 
As iniquitous as the law was, which was vetoed by him, yet the 
people returned to the legislature time and again the very men 
who voted for the law. The men who held the very highest offices 
in the State afterwards, were those who voted for that law.] 

Mr. WEAD addressed the Convention on this subject, (his 

remarks will appear in our next)^' until the hour of adjournment. 

^ Wead's remarks do not appear in later issues of the Illinois Stale Reg- 
ister nor in the Sangamo Journal. 



XXXII. SATURDAY, JULY 17, 1847 

Prayer by Rev. Mr. Green of Tazewell. 

Mr. DEITZ presented a petition in relation to the appointment 
of a superintendent of schools. Referred to the committee on 
Education. 

Mr. TURNER presented a petition praying the abolition of 
capital punishment. Referred to the committee on the Judi- 
ciary. 

The Convention then resolved itself into committee of the 
whole — Mr. Grain in the Chair. 

The question pending was on the two motions to insert "major- 
ity" and "three-fifths." 

Mr. HARVEY briefly advocated the amendment to insert 
"three-fifths," as he thought the "majority" was reducing the 
effect of a veto to too small an importance. 

Mr. WOODSON said, that it was manifest that the majority 
of the Convention were in favor of retaining the veto power; and 
if so, he was desirous that it should be adopted in its least objec- 
tionable form — by the amendment proposing a majority of the 
members elect. He opposed the veto power under any circum- 
stances, as opposed to the spirit and genius of our government, 
which recognize all power as vested in the people, and from them 
in their representatives; and which was defeated by giving to one 
man authority to obstruct the passage of any law which those 
representatives thought it proper, wise and expedient to enact. 
There might be some propriety in vesting the President of the 
United States with some such power, but none that we should 
confer it upon a Governor of a state. The President has vast and 
extended patronage, and is the representative of the whole Union, 
and all its diversified interests, and it may be necessary at times 
for him to interpose this power, to prevent wrongs upon those 
interests by encroachments by the Legislature. Judge Storv 
has said, that one reason for the veto was that there is a natural 
tendency in the legislative department to encroach upon the duties 
424 



SATURDAY, JULY 17, 1847 425 

and rights of the others. This may be true in respect to the 
national legislature, but is not so in the state governments, nor in 
this state, which has been shown by the action of this Convention — 
which he would refer to presently. Another reason given, is 
that it is a safe-guard against rash and hasty legislation. What 
further safe-guard is required than those already provided by the 
committee in its action upon the report of the Legislative com- 
mittee? 

He asked leave to refer to the remark made by Mr. Wead, 
"that in no case, where the veto power had been exercised, did 
it fail in receiving the universal approval of the people," and he 
would say to that gentleman that he was not altogether satisfied 
that the late veto of President Polk was so universally approved. 
In the western part of the country all parties were unanimous, and 
the great convention, the largest held in this section of the coun- 
try, at Chicago, had united in the denunciation of that act. 
There was not a single item in that bill which had not, at one time 
or another, received the approbation of Presidents Jackson or 
Van Buren. 

Mr. W. then referred in detail to the reduction of the number 
of the Legislature, the many checks, re[s]trictions and prohibi- 
tions thrown around its action, the denial to it of the power it had 
heretofore of appropriating moneys upon private claims, and urged 
that all these were sufficient to prevent hasty or improvident 
legislation. He thought that the case of the internal improvement 
act was one which might not occur again in a century, and was not 
a sufficient argument to justify a departure from correct principles. 
And even if he was sure that the veto power would not be exer- 
cised, except on conservative grounds, still he would oppose it, 
because he believed it opposed to the spirit and genius of our 
government. He believed that if the Governor had the veto 
power at the time of the passage of the internal improvement act, 
and had exercised it, that the people would have still demanded 
and succeeded in passing that act; for they had shown their 
approval of the men who had carried it through, by elevating 
them even to this day to the highest offices in the State; one, at 
least, of our U. S. Senators was in favor of that act. 

Mr. NORTHCOTT followed in opposition to the veto on 



426 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

grounds similar to those expressed by those preceding him on the 
same side. 

[Mr. NORTHCOTT said/» he did not beheve that he could do 
justice to his feelings, or his constituents, without occupying the 
time of the committee, while he submitted a few remarks for their 
candid and deliberate consideration; and if an apology is necessary, 
mine is found in the vast importance of the question before us; 
a question that involves great principles, the wise or unwise settle- 
ment of which, will tell for weal or woe, during the existence of the 
instrument we are now framing. 

We have provided for three separate and distinct branches of 
government — Legislative, Executive and Judicial. Correct prin- 
ciple and good policy alike dictate, that each of these bodies of 
magistracy, in the performance of their various duties, should be 
independent of each other. The Legislative department is con- 
stituted for the purpose of framing laws for the government and 
well being of society. The Judiciary, for the purpose of adjudi- 
cating upon, and expounding those laws: and the Executive, for 
the purpose of seeing them faithfully executed. Sir, it would be 
just as reasonable to declare that the judiciary should, under the 
new constitution, exercise a controlling influence over either of the 
other departments, as that the governor should control the legis- 
lature. Indeed, it would be equally correct in theory, and ex- 
pedient in practice, to give the governor the right to veto the 
judgments and decisions of the supreme court, as to vest him with 
power to veto the acts of the general assembly. 

The object of the veto power, say its advocates, is to prevent 
hasty legislation. Are there no hasty decisions of the supreme 
court? Are not individuals frequently injured by those decisions? 
Most certainly they are. Then, gentlemen to be consistent, 
should carry out the principle, and say to that body, "What you 
can do in accordance with the will of the governor, that do: thus 
far shalt thou go, and no farther.' ' If a concurrence of two-thirds 
of the legislature be made necessary to pass a bill that could not 
obtain the Governor's sanction, it would give him complete con- 
trol of the law-making power; it would become a pliant tool in his 

'" This speech by Northcott is taken from the Sangamo Journal, July 23. 



SATURDAY, JULY 17, 1847 4^7 

hand to do his bidding; and, sir, we had just as well abolish it at 
once. 

IVIr. Chairman, I utterly deprecate the introduction of party 
discussion here; but such are the circumstances by which I am 
surrounded, that I cannot do justice to the subject without glanc- 
ing at a few of the circumstances that make a part of our State 
and National history for a few years past. I might have been 
spared the painful task, had it not been for the very extraordinary 
speech delivered here on yesterday, by the gentleman from Fulton. 
He has hurled defiance at us. Mark his singular language: "I 
defy those on the other side to show a solitary instance where the 
veto power has been wielded to the injury of the country." 
Again, speaking of vetoes, he says: — "They have been invariably 
sustained by the American people." He has thrown down the 
gauntlet. I take it up. Sir, the pecuniary embarrassments of 
this State, past, present and future, are the legitimate results of 
the exercise of that power; I mean the vetoes of the chief magis- 
trate of this confederacy. When called upon to sign a bill for the 
recharter of the United States Bank, he refused, and in his message 
to Congress giving his reasons for that refusal, recommended to 
the States the creation of State banks, and to the banks liberal 
discounts. This coming from such a source, from a man the high- 
est in power, first in the hearts of the American people, a hero, a 
patriot and a statesman, carried with it immense weight. Accord- 
ingly banks sprung up, like mushroons during the sable shades of 
night, and scattered their promises to pay, thick as falling leaves 
of autumn. 

Side by side with this bank veto, I will place another, similar 
in its character, and similar in its tendency, both of which worked 
conjointly to produce that overwhelming ruin, that came very 
near swallowing up our whole country in general, and Illinois in 
particular; I mean that of the Maysville road bill, in which the 
President recommended the States should construct their own 
works of internal improvement. That recommendation worked 
like magic, and the States, both old and new, weak and strong, 
indiscriminately, began these works with a vengeance. Magnifi- 
cent schemes were planned and commenced; money was borrowed 
from abroad without stint, and paid to agents, contractors and 



428 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

laborers, and from them it found its way into all the departments 
of business. This money, obtained by loans, and augmented by 
the issues of a thousand banks, all thrown into circulation at 
once, — all seeking profitable investment, — caused the sage to be- 
come visionary, the heretofore wise and prudent lost their caution 
and forethought, the nation became involved in debt, — States, 
corporations and individuals followed the example; the agricultural 
and manufacturing interests were neglected, and we, who should 
be able to feed the world, compelled to look to Europe for the 
means of subsistence. The balance of trade turned against us. 
Specie was demanded to make up the deficit. This caused a run 
on the banks for cash, deprived them of the means of redeeming 
their out-standing notes, which had been previously receivable for 
all government dues, and the "specie circular" was issued to save 
the government from loss; and this caused a further run on the 
banks, and they suspended specie payments. This created alarm 
all over the country, and spread consternation among our creditors 
abroad; no more money could be borrowed; the energies of our 
State, and of many other States, were completely paralyzed; and 
the people who were in 1832 progressing most speedily, and with 
the most apparent certainty in the acquisition of wealth, of fame 
and of happiness, in a short time were prostrated. The nation 
was scarcely able to redeem its plighted faith. States for a time, 
at least, driven to repudiation. Banks broke; individuals became 
insolvent, and their property sold at public outcry; credit was 
destroyed; confidence between man and man had given way to a 
spirit of distrust; ruin, like a stream of molten lava, had completely 
over-run the fair face of our lovely country; from Maine to Lou- 
isiana, — from our own blue lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, — all was 
a scene of desolation; scarcely was a green spot left on which the 
eye of the soul-stricken patriot could rest. 

These are the financial evils resulting from these vetoes; and 
poor Illinois stands forth as a conspicuous witness of these asser- 
tions; the monument she has erected in memory of her fall is in 
the shape of a State debt of fifteen millions— the existence of 
which, I fear, will be co-equal with that of the pyramids of Egypt. 

This veto was the commencement of an era in the executive 
history of this country.— Up to this period, moderation had char- 



SATURDAY, JULY 17, 1847 429 

acterized the action of our chief magistrates; the balance of power 
had been preserved, and the co-ordinate departments had kept 
within their legitimate spheres. In the midst of the delusive and 
ephemeral prosperity that followed this assumption of executive 
responsibility, and the accompanying recommendations, the people 
were called upon to exercise the elective franchise, in the choice 
of a chief magistrate. The overwhelming majority he received, 
was taken by himself and friends as a direct approval of that act. 

The opponents of the veto had prophesied convulsions and 
disasters, whilst its advocates sung the syren song of peace, lulling 
the fears of an unsuspecting people, and told of still better times 
ahead. This delusive state of things, and not the popularity of 
the veto, elected him for a second term. 

But the Rubicon was crossed. The President held himself as 
the people's immediate representative, and should therefore con- 
trol all departments of the government, and frpm that day to this, 
with the exception of one short month, "I take the responsibility" 
has been the motto of every President. That day proscription 
commenced, wholesale and retail, from custom house officer to the 
village post-master, all must make room for the favorites of the 
President; from that time Congress had to commence carving its 
work to suit the views of the executive, and when they have 
omitted to do it, the executive has interposed his fiat, and said, 
"it shall not be so." At one time, the President by repeated 
importunities received from Congress the Nation's purse; and while 
he held it meekly in one hand, reached out the other, and implor- 
ingly solicited the sword; the people's representatives answered. 
No. And at the then ensuing presidential election, the people, 
rising in their majestic might, answered in tones of thunder, 
"never." This was the death blow to executive usurpation. 
But it slumbered only for a time, it was galvanized in 1844, by 
the miracle working names of "Texas and Oregon;" in its galvan- 
ized state it has brought us into a war with a neighboring republic; 
now it moves, not as if guided by intellect, it exhibits but the 
convulsive throes of a galvanized corpse; and, sir, believe me or 
not, in the latter part of the year 1848, the people will, by the 
election of Gen. Taylor, bury it so deep, that Gabriel's trumpet 
will not cause it to twitch a single muscle. 



430 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

The foregoing presents the great danger that our liberties are 
in from the veto power, as now wielded by the President; and in 
view of all these circumstances, who can say that vetoes are always 
right? And if productive of much evil, shall we engraft it in our 
new constitution? Shall we subject ourselves to the usurpation 
by one man, of such unlimited power, and enable him to defeat 
the popular will? I trust not, sir. Some gentlemen here, say 
that it is but a negative power; that it enacts nothing. Causes 
may arise in which it will have the same effect. Suppose a law 
to be unpopular and mischievous in its tendency — the people call 
loudly for its repeal — the majority of the legislature so determine; 
but Mr. Governor says, no; — by his will he prolongs the existence 
of a bad law. This, to a man of my humble capacities, looks like 
exercising legislative powers by indirection, and I think cannot be 
otherwise. 

The gentleman from Schuyler says, "such powers should not 
be given to a president, but that the governor should have them 
by all means." Here is, I think, distinction without a difference; 
if the principle is correct both should have such authority; if 
wrong, as I think I have clearly shown both from fact and argu- 
ment, neither. If a governor can prevent the enactment of good 
laws, and the repeal of evil ones, by that power, I say withhold it 
from him. 

One other argument, Mr. Chairman, and I have done. The 
people know the candidate for governor by his previous acts; the 
candidates for the legislature they know personally — they con- 
verse with them familiarly face to face, alsout their wants; and is 
it to be expected that the governor, shut up in the city of Spring- 
field, or in New York city acting as fund commissioner, can know 
the views, the feelings, the wants and the interests of the people 
of whom he has never seen one in ten far better than their immedi- 
ate representatives fresh from among them? Sir, the idea is pre- 
posterous. I hope the amendment offered by the gentleman from 
Sangamon will prevail.] 

Mr. DAVIS of Massac proposed to submit a few remarks for 
the consideration of the committee, in answer to the extraordinary 
arguments advanced by a gentleman on the other side of the ques- 



SATURDAY, JULY 17, 1847 431 

tion. — The gentleman from Hardin, in his remarks the other day, 
set out by saying that the veto power ought not to be exercised in 
a repubHc; that it was a concomitant of monarchy. And the 
gentleman from Greene, if I understood him, declared in his 
place to-day, that the power should not be exercised under a 
government such as ours; and I understood the gentleman who 
has just resumed his seat to declare that much, nay, almost all, of 
the evils of which we have had to complain for the last ten or 
fifteen years, have resulted from the exercise of the veto power. 
Sir, I am at a loss to know to what part of our national history 
gentlemen will go to support the assertions which they have made 
on this occasion. Sir, if it be the exercise of a power closely allied 
to monarchy, if it be drawn from the mother country from which 
we have drawn most of our notions of government, and if expe- 
rience has demonstrated, as I think it has, that its exercise has 
tended to promote the interests of the whole country, it seems to 
me that gentlemen have stepped very far out of their proper 
sphere when they have denounced the advocates of the power as 
favorites and supporters of monarchy. Will they pretend to say 
that Washington, the first man who exercised the power in our 
national government, was an advocate of monarchy, or of any 
thing that savored of despotism ? Will they say that the great and 
good Madison was an advocate of monarchy? I trust that gentle- 
men do not mean to asperse the memories of those illustrious men 
in such a manner. In my opinion the exercise of the veto power, 
upon proper occasions, is one of the most essential and important 
objects that can be secured. It is, it may well be said, indispen- 
sable to check hasty and inconsiderate legislation; and if we go 
back over the whole history of legislation we will find that the 
exertion of this power has on no occasion been condemned, or even 
disapproved of by the people. It has been said, however, 
that if the power is invested in the Governor at all, it should be 
only a majority power; that it should only require a majority to 
pass the law notwithstanding the veto. I ask what benefit 
could result to the legislation of the country from the exercise of 
the veto power, if a bare majority can come in and pass a law 
over the veto. What benefit could result to the legislation of the 
country when a majority, incensed perhaps by the exercise of the 



432 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

veto power, may enact the law notwithstanding the veto. Mem- 
bers of the Legislature, instead of being conciliated by the argu- 
ments contained in the veto message, will naturally be the more 
strongly set in their opinions than before; they will be the more 
firmly fixed in their determination to pass the law, in consequence 
of the veto. Every man has a certain pride of opinion, and dis- 
likes very much to be driven from a position which he has taken; 
he will not be willing to renounce the opinions he has once expressed, 
although the arguments contained in the veto message may be 
sufficient to convince any unprejudiced mind. He is not willing 
to recede from the position he has assumed and admit that he was 
wrong. No, sir, that pride of opinion which every man has to a 
greater or less extent, will induce him to adhere to that position, 
and instead of conciliating, instead of gaining any thing, the 
executive will lose everything. But the gentleman from Greene 
tells us that there is no necessity for the exertion of this power in 
this state, after the legislative power shall have been narrowed 
down, as it will be, to almost nothing. And one argument made 
use of by the honorable gentleman is, that two dollars per day 
being the pay of members of the Legislature, it is, consequently, 
to be presumed that they will not do wrong. Sir, this is, in 
my judgment, the strongest argument that can be made. T\yo 
dollars being the per diem of members, we are, consequently, to 
have good and enlightened legislation. I confess, Mr. President, 
that I should be inclined to apprehend the contrary. No, sir, it 
will ensure entrance into your legislative halls hereafter of men 
who have not the capacity for legislation, and who cannot be 
controlled by any power whatever. This, then, instead of being 
an argument in favor of the gentleman's position, is the most 
potent argument for extending the exercise to the utmost extent 
which its advocates desire. But, says the gentleman from Greene, 
"it is contrary to the genius of our institutions to place the Execu- 
tive over the heads of the people, by giving him such a power as 
this." Let me tell the gentleman, that it is not the disposition 
of the advocates of the veto power, to place the Executive over 
the heads of the people, but it is the disposition of those who advo- 
cate the exercise of the veto power, to enable the Governor, who is 
the representative of the whole people, to control the acts of their 



SATURDAY, JULY 17, 1847 433 

dishonest agents, for all experience has shown that, however honest 
and upright the representatives of the people for the most part 
are, bad men will sometimes find their way into legislative assem- 
blies. It is not a restraint upon the people, but is a restraint upon 
the public agents of the people. It is not intended to control the 
people, for the people are not here, as in a pure democracy, in 
person; they are here by their representatives, and it sometimes 
turns out that the representatives are not the true exponents of 
their wishes. There are districts represented in this Convention 
by individuals who do not know the wishes of the people, or who, 
if they do know the public sentiment in their districts, do not 
truly represent that public sentiment. This will ever be the case, 
and the exertion of the veto power is necessary for that very 
reason. Then, in the mode of conducting the elections, it some- 
times turns out that we cannot secure the return of such men as 
will carry out the real wishes of the people. 

But, sir, it is said, because the Legislature will be limited in 
the duration of its sessions, therefore there is no necessity for the 
exercise of this power. Sir, this very reason constitutes, to my 
mind, an argument for its exercise. For, if you limit the Legisla- 
ture to short sessions, the business will necessarily be hurried; the 
inevitable result will be the most hasty and inconsiderate legisla- 
tion. Let this matter, then, rest with the Executive, who can 
look calmly and deliberately upon the acts of the legislature, and 
view them in all their phases and aspects; and if he be the faithful 
representative of the people — if he be an upright public servant — 
he will bring his honest heart and intelligent understanding to the 
correction of the abuses which hasty and inconsiderate legislation 
would occasion. Have we not all witnessed the haste with which 
bill after bill, and act after act, have been passed into laws about 
the period of the winding up of the business of the session of the 
Legislature? Very few members are able to know what pro- 
visions are contained in those acts; if they happened to be wise 
ones, it is merely a fortunate accident, and if they happened to 
be unwise, it is nothing more than we had reason to expect. But, 
sir, one gentleman has gone into the history of the currency of the 
country; he has spoken of the veto of the venerated chief whose 
spirit has returned to the God who gave it. He has brought this 



434 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

matter into the arena. Sir, I shall not enter into a party discus- 
sion in this Convention, unless compelled to do so in self defence, 
and I trust there will be no compulsion. But, sir, it is said, that 
it is not necessary in a state government as in the federal govern- 
ment that this power should be exercised. I should be glad if any 
gentleman would tell me why it is not necessary to be sometimes 
exercised in a state government. Is it to be presumed that the 
representatives of the people of this state are endowed with more 
wisdom and intelligence than the representatives of the people in 
the national legislature? Is it to be presumed that there will be 
less of hasty legislation in a state legislature, than in the national 
legislature. I think not, and I think very few will disagree with 
me when it is considered that the Senate of the United States is 
composed of the wisest men in this confederacy, they constitute 
a check upon the hasty legislation of the popular branch, just as the 
veto of the President constitutes a check upon both. The Senate 
is a check upon the House of Representatives, and e converse, but 
all experience has shown that these checks, wholesome as they are, 
great as they are, are not sufficient to restrain men in the enact- 
ment of injurious laws. All experience has shown that something 
more is needed, and that is the placing in the hands of the execu- 
tive, the power to arrest unwise and unwholesome exactments, 
before they inflict upon the country, the irremediable evil of their 
blighting influences. I have, perhaps, sir, detained the committee 
as long as I ought to do; I trust that if either of the propositions 
to amend should prevail, it will be that of the gentleman from 
Schuyler. I would prefer two-thirds as being better than three- 
fifths, but if I can get no better proposition than that of the gen- 
tleman from Schuyler, I shall, when the vote is taken, avail myself 
of it, for I believe that the exercise of the veto power is essential 
in order that the state of Illinois, peculiarly blessed as she may be, 
if governed by wise councils, may not see her prospects blighted by 
unwise legislation, but may hereafter shine forth as the brightest 
star m the constellation states. 

Mr. ARCHER said, that although this question had already 
been discussed, and he had intended to have said nothing upon 
it, yet he felt constrained, after what had been said by those who 
opposed the introduction into the constitution, to present his views. 



SATURDAY, JULY 17, 1847 435 

as it was one upon which the people of the part of the state he 
represented felt great interest in, and he considered it a duty due 
to himself and them to lay those views before the committee. 
He was in favor of the section reported by the committee, as 
amended by the gentleman from McLean, which then, he believed, 
would be in the same words that were used in the constitution of 
the United States. He believed the veto to be the great and salu- 
tary conservative power of all governments, and that Illinois 
should be the last state, after the experience of the past, to give it 
up. Have we not had enough of unwise, hasty and improvident 
legislation to point out to us the necessity and importance of 
guarding against it for the future? Out of such legislation had 
grown the internal improvement acts, which had blasted the 
prosperity and hopes of the young state, and raised up a debt 
which our grand children will never see the day of its payment. 
We should never abandon the only sure and constitutional mode 
of preventing a recurrence of such things, and this veto power was 
the most saving power to accomplish that end. It had well been 
said by the gentleman from Massac, that Illinois was a state 
which had been blessed by Heaven, but cursed by legislation, and 
our people should be jealous of any attempt to wrest from the 
constitution this mode of checking it for all time to come. Gentle- 
men have said that this is a legislative power conferred upon the 
Governor, enabling him to legislate for the state in opposition to 
the will of their representatives; it is not a positive power, it is 
only conferring upon him, who is the representative of the whole 
people, the power of checking such legislation as may be deemed 
unwise, hasty or unconstitutional. Is this legislative? It i[s], 
as I said before, not a positive, but simply a negative power to 
check what may be considered wrong. And what other power 
have we left the Governor of this state? We have left him the 
power of granting pardons and reprieves, and the veto; this last 
it is now proposed to take away, and what I ask do gentlemen 
desire him to be? Do they want to see the man chosen by the 
people of the state to be their Governor made the tool of the Legis- 
lature, to do whatever they may desire, to carry out what they may 
choose to enact, no matter what his opinion may be? Do they 
want him to occupy the chair of state, and look on at their pro- 



436 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

ceedings and see the most unwise, corrupt and unconstitutional 
legislation without the power to interpose an objection, or stretch 
forth his hand to save? If this power be denied, then again will 
we have all the evils of over legislation, by combination and corrup- 
tion. A man comes to the Legislature, we will say from Pike, or 
Hardin, or Massac, who has some local measure which he is 
anxious to have passed, one which may be of no sort of benefit 
to the state, but merely desired by that member and a few 
friends at home. He comes upon the floor of the House of Rep- 
resentatives and there meets with other member[s] who have 
similar designs to carry out, not one of which could be passed 
alone, but by a system of combination and log-rolling they succeed 
in obtaining its passage — the passage of them all. In such a case 
as this — no improbable one, if we judge by what has been said by 
old members of the Legislature on this floor, to whom do the 
people look for protection against all the evils of this local legis- 
lation? They look, sir, to the Governor. They call upon him to 
avert the evil by the interposition of the power they have vested 
in him. They say to him, our representatives have become cor- 
rupt, they have betrayed the trusts we have reposed in them, 
they are about to bring upon us the accumulated evils of local 
legislation, and we look to you, as the representative of the whole 
people of the state, and of all its great interests, to check it by your 
constitutional power. Much has been said about "one man 
power." There is attached to the exercise of this power by one 
man a responsibility which is not felt by legislatures? If the 
Governor permits a bill to become a law which is wrong and un- 
constitutional, the whole responsibility of such an act rests upon 
his head, and there only. He is the person responsible to the 
people for such an act — upon him it falls entirely. But how 
diff^erent when the Legislature may pass an act of this kind, for 
what is the responsibility when divided among one hundred men? 
No one of them feels, nor will take, nor can it be placed upon him, 
the responsibility for such a violation of the duty they owed to 
the people. "One man power!" is the cry. They desire that no 
one man shall have this power. It is, say they, a "one man power" 
arrayed against the representatives of the people. Why have a 
Governor at all? Why have the executive power of the state 



SATURDAY, JULY 17, 1847 437 

vested in "one man?" Why, if this power is so dangerous in the 
hands of "one man," do you leave with him the right, by the 
authority of his office, after the judiciary department of the state 
have tried and condemned a man for a violation of the laws, to 
interpose, to pardon that man and arrest the judicial proceedings? 
The same argument will apply in this case against the exercise of 
a "one man power," as it will in the exercise of the veto upon 
the proceedings of the other department. It has been asked why 
change the old constitution? I tell the gentlemen because the 
innumerable evils of the past, which this power might have pre- 
vented, call loudly for the change. The people of the state look 
anxiously for it; the people of the county I represent demand 
the adoption of the veto power in the hands of the Governor. Of 
this I have no doubt, for I am sure I reflect their sentiments when I 
say it should be adopted. 

The gentleman from Menard has deprecated the introduction 
of party feeling in this Convention. Though I am a party man, 
warm and ardent in my feelings and opinions upon all party 
subjects, I agree with him that they should not be introduced here; 
and I regretted very much, when the gentleman from Hardin 
(Mr. McCallen) declared that he would review the history of the 
country regardless of what feelings it might stir up here. I then 
thought, and I do now, that that was a most unfortunate remark. 
It was one calculated to raise party feeling and excitement here, 
and to draw out replies in the same spirit; but I have said I was 
opposed to it and I will not allude further to his remarks. I will 
only say that the people have passed upon all the acts of the 
exercise of the veto power, and that in the case where the Bank of 
the United States was put down by the veto upon its charter was 
most signally and triumphantly sustained by the people in the 
election of Mr. Van Buren — thus showing that they regarded its 
exercise as one intended for the benefit and prosperity of the whole 
people. 

In conclusion, he said that he would vote, when they would be 
called upon in convention, for the retention of the whole veto 
power; that now if he could not get two-thirds he would vote for 
three-fifths, for, in his opinion, the simple majority of the members 
elect, was nothing more than no veto at all. 



438 ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Mr. GRAHAM made some remarks in opposition to the veto 
power, which our limits will not permit us to give. 

Mr. SINGLETON was in favor of the Legislature having the 
power to pass what laws they should think proper, independent 
of the sanction of a Governor; but from the vote taken yesterday 
he thought that the Convention had decided that the veto power 
was to be retained. If this was to be the case, he would vote for 
the three-fifths, because he believed that was the best he could get, 
and as a matter of compromise. This was a party question and 
one which he had not discussed before his constituents, and 
he was willing to compromise between two-thirds and a majority, 
by voting three-fifths. He had never compromised upon any 
political or party question in his life, but upon this, as he did not 
know exactly what the sentiments of his people were, he thought 
something was due to them, and therefore he would vote for the 
three-fifths, as in that case the evil would be presented in its least 
objectionable shape. He believed the majority rule the proper 
one, but he would not, for the reasons given, vote for it now. He 
thought the veto gave the Governor a power and an influence upon 
the representatives of the people which he should not possess. It 
made him equal to forty-nine members of the House of Represent- 
atives. 

Mr. GREGG said, that he did not intend to have said anything 
upon this subject, but he desired, as the matter was to be dis- 
cussed, to express his views upon the subject. 

He was one of those who believed that the veto power cannot 
be abandoned without causing great danger to the Hberties of 
the people, and producing a fatal tendency to the destruction of 
our institutions and government. What was it. Is it the black 
and hideous bug-bear that is held up to our view, as one conferring 
upon the Governor legislative power? No sir, it is not. The 
veto confers no legislative power upon the party holding it; it 
is not a positive power, it is but a negative one. It is 
simply the power to negative for a time the action of the Legisla- 
ture when it is deemed rash, hasty or unconstitutional. This 
was but a principle of our government. Our government is one 
of checks and balances, and this is one of t